99 thoughts on “Autumn Trilogy I – Reflected Light

  1. Last evening, during an event at the Taos Arts Paseo, kids were using apples and potatoes to cut blocks for prints. They dipped them in edible colors to print on paper. The apples and potatoes were then put into a pot to make soup for later.

    1. Now, that’s encouraging, Jim. There’s at least one tradition that’s still around. Potato-block prints were a favorite activity during my grade school days, along with Ivory soap carving. I don’t remember soup being made later, though. Nice touch.

    1. I’ve been hearing that sense of dread from several people, Melissa. Last winter was so long and so harsh, no one’s eager for a rerun. Even without the ice and snow, we were cold for a very long time down here, and the sight of extraordinarily busy squirrels is making a lot of people nervous.

      Here’s to long, lingering light in these autumn days.


    1. Thanks, DM! I just realized I haven’t heard anything about your apple harvest this year. Have you started picking? Are you done? I think I remember you had a bumper crop last year, so perhaps your trees are taking a little rest.

      In any case, happy fall!


    2. ps — I missed it. I just found your post about the 1/6 crop, and the great apple photos. My hunch was right. You had a bumper crop, followed by a little rest on the part of your trees. Still, the apples you pictured are gorgeous.

  2. Apple time: one of my favorite times of the year. Thanks for the photo and poem, Linda. We had Peggy’s home made apple pie last night. Just the smell of a baking apple pie is heavenly. –Curt

    1. There are reasons that realtors advise sellers to either bake something or burn a candle that smells like something baking before showing their house. There’s nothing in the world as good as the smell of something in the oven, and baking apple pie is the best.
      I trust you’ll do your part in helping dispose of that pie, Curt. After all, the sooner it’s gone, the sooner another needs baking!


  3. I must admit, autumn here is not as romantic as those in New England where you have beautiful (esp. red) foliage, and yes, ripe fruits ready for the picking or big, red apples reflecting light. Nice poem though, not to diminish its imagery. ;)

    I came back from Toronto the second week of Sept. to the aftermath of a snow storm, with broken tree branches and trunks, littering all our city streets. Even now they are still cleaning up the mess. But of course, I shouldn’t complain, for I see golden leaves and clear blue sky now that we’re getting some warmer weather. So while I don’t have red, I have yellow, still beautiful. Will post some photos next Sat. But right now still catching up with recording my ‘Toronto experience’ at Ripple.

    1. Funny as it sounds, Arti, much of our autumn color comes from a “trash tree” — the Chinese tallow. It’s not just an invasive, it’s officially prohibited,, and a lot of effort has been expended trying to get people to stop planting it, already!

      It does have some lovely colors, as do other non-natives like the Bradford pear, which can turn a deep burgundy. But if the conditions are right, our native cypress, sumac, and oaks can be quite attractive. Still, it’s not New England.

      I’d heard about that snow. Early or late ice or wet snow can be so destructive. With all of their leaves intact, the trees look beautiful, until they start to crack. I just looked at your forecast, and I’d suggest a few birding trips this week, before the snow flies again.


  4. The poem and the image make me think of the lovely things I would read in grade school or see tacked up near the chalk board (remember those?) as an autumnal celebration. Just little touches to bring some warmth and nature to an otherwise terrifying (for me) school room experience!

    1. I do remember those classroom decorations, Martha. Pumpkins, construction paper leaves, real leaves ironed into waxed paper and put on the windows. It was such fun.

      I hadn’t thought about all that when I was putting this together, but now that you’ve brought it up, I looked again at the font I chose. It’s not something I usually would use, and it does look distinctly grade-schoolish. Maybe my subconscious was in charge.


      1. Waxed paper and colored leaves…should be a required project. My leaves always seemed to fall out. I guess I didn’t get enough heat to stick the papers together. :^(

    1. Thank you so much. I smiled when I read your musings on the artist as collector and connector of dots. This post was put together in just that way. First there was a photo. Then, I wrote the little limerick that reminded me of the photo. When I introduced them to one another, they seemed to pair perfectly.

      I’m looking forward to exploring your blog: for the beautiful photos, of course, but also for your musings on the creative process.


  5. Very sweet Linda. Real estate agents also advise putting a big bowl of apples on the counter when showing a house to symbolize warmth and bounty. And don’t forget my favorite fall pastime—the old folk-art of carving appleheads, decorating, and watching the daily transformation!

    I’m most homesick for New England in the fall…sniff.

    1. I’ve never carved an applehead, Debra. We were into cornhusk dolls. But I must say, a cornhusk doll with a shrunken applehead would have a certain — je ne sais pas quoi. But now that I know how to do the appleheads, I may just give it a try. Maybe I can scrounge up some kids to help.

      I’m most homesick for Iowa in the fall. It’s not just the color. It’s the crispness, the cider, the doughnuts — and yes, even the smell of burning leaves. It still exists, thank goodness. I could move back to Iowa for the fall — if it weren’t for the winter!


        1. Isn’t it good, Gallivanta? A friend and I talked and talked and were ready to order some fresh apple cider doughnuts from Vermont, but they’ve already moved on to maple. Next year.

    1. Aren’t they beautiful, Kayti? Such a simple thing, yet so compelling. It’s no wonder they ended up in the toe of so many Christmas stockings, or were handed to so many teachers. As you rightly point out, no fruit sits in the hand like an apple, or appeals in quite the same way.

      One of my mother’s treasures was an oversized cut glass bowl that sat on the dining room table, sparkling in the sunlight. In autumn, she’d heap it up with apples. Now, it’s on my table, and I carry on the custom.


  6. The photo is so pretty. Love the light and shadow on one of my most favorite of fruits. The poem is lovely too. I liked it very much. Do you know that orchards in Texas are growing Gala and I think maybe Fuji? I’ve bought them at HEB.

    1. Oh, Yvonne – now you’ve done it! One of my favorite things to talk about is Texas apples. During my early days around Kerrville, I met Baxter and Carol Adams, whose Love Creek Orchards are just marvelous. And I never, ever go to the Hill Country without making a trip to Medina to have a homemade apple streudel topped with apple ice cream at their store. A little over the top? Sure — but worth every bite.

      There was some early trouble in the Hill Country with cotton root rot, and entire orchards were lost to the disease. But the industry’s still going strong, and the number of varieties are increasing. A seller at my farmers’ market, from up near Palestine, is growing Galas. They’re not my favorite, but they’ll do in a pinch.

      The other thing about Love Creek is that they’re growing and selling the same Bigtooth Maples that are found at Lost Maples. Part of their land has gone to the Nature Conservancy, and they’re deeply involved with native plants, preservation, and so on.

      I’ve been piling up reasons to get myself to Kerrville, and you’ve just added another one.


      1. Good info about Love Creek Orchards. I had no idea anyone was trying to further the Bigtooth Maples. This is great news to me.

        Yes, I think you’d ;love a trip to Medina. I’ve been in that area once when our kiddos were young and my husband drive us through that area. It looked so pretty and a place where I’d love to live if I were younger.

  7. I never feel gloomy about autumn–it’s the most beautiful of seasons here (I just do my best to ignore what comes next . . . ), but I’m with you on that shiny apple, which surely Eve herself couldn’t have resisted!

    1. I favor autumn myself, Susan, although winter and spring are close behind. (You can keep summer.) It’s a “how do I love thee?” sort of season for me, with good qualities far too numerous to mention. And while gloominess doesn’t attach for either of us, who can resist just a touch of melancholy — especially exquisite melancholy?


  8. What a pleasant gathering of words is your poem, Linda. Your description of them heaped in buckets and bins brings on the smells of an apple house.
    As a kid I never cared for apples. As an older adult I look forward to the new harvest every year. I have my favorite varieties…Macoun is tops. Along with the foliage they are the highlight of the season.

    1. I’ve never heard of the Macoun variety, Steve. I read that it’s a cross between the McIntosh and Jersey black varieties, but that doesn’t help much, because I’ve never heard of the Jersey black.

      For a minute, I thought I had a connection to your Macoun. I read that one of my favorites, the Honeycrisp, was parented by the Macoun and Honeygold. Alas: not so. The Honeycrisp was produced by crossing the Keepsake with — well, they don’t quite know. As the Wiki puts it, rather primly, “The other parent has not been identified, but it might be a numbered selection that could have been discarded.” Intrigue in the orchard!

      One of the great delights of my trip last fall was stopping by a true cider mill, watching the process and enjoying the end result: fresh cider and cider doughnuts. It’s fun to read through the customer reviews on the Vermont Country Store page where their cider doughnuts are listed. There are people all over the country waxing poetic about how well they replicate what was served up in Massachusetts, Maine, Wisconsin and Michigan.

      For some reason, I’m starting to get a taste for them myself.


      1. It’s those clever orcharders with their tricky grafting sticks. Messin’ with the natural apple order.
        I tried Honey Crisp, but it’s too sweet for me. I much prefer the tart varieties…add Cortlands to the list.

  9. Lovely apple photo and a quite nice limerick-y poem to accompany it.

    I might just go get one of the honeycrisps I bought today and indulge.

    1. So, we’re both Honeycrisp fans. Take a look at my comment to Steve, just above, for a bit of interesting information about our apple’s parentage. I’m amazed by the number of varieties I’ve learned about. Some are easy to figure out, like the Jonagold. Others? Not so much.

      Here’s an amazement for you: a listing of apple varieties that seems to go on forever. Feel like an Orange Pippin? A Newtorn Pippin, grown by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello? A Jefferies or a Vista Bella? They’re all there.


    1. I’m always glad to elicit a smile, Rosemary. Marking the change to autumn can be a delight, especially since the pleasures the season brings can be so simple, and so easily obtained.


    1. Hi, Dana ~ I can’t think of anything better than bringing you a little essence of apple.”

      Everything counts with an apple: the crunch, the sweet-tart taste, the juice. And of course, there’s the peeling. Grandma had a little gizmo that would do it, but she liked to do it by hand, and she was faster than the gizmo. Watching her turn out apple pies was a wonder. Eating them was even better.

      On an entirely different subject – I was thinking about you today. Was it a local group that did that guerilla poetry business? Or was it a blogging meme? I was telling someone about it, and couldn’t remember the details. Is it still going on?

      It’s so nice to see you. Happy October!


      1. It was actually a blogger in Scotland who did it – International Put Your Poem in a Shop Month, in December each year. But she’s had a baby & is expecting another so her life is too busy these days. We didn’t do it last year. Maybe I’ll take up the cause this year. Although that means I might have to write an actual poem or three… :)

    1. They are, indeed. I had noticed through July and August the faint shriveling of the apples in the grocery stores. There always comes a time when I stop buying them, and just wait. Now, our waiting is over!


    1. I just noticed this week that the first green acorns are beginning to fall. Many of them have a single little toothmark, as though someone was checking for ripeness. I absolutely believe that creatures have memory, and that your deer have been anticipating those apples as much as my squirrels have been waiting for acorns.


    1. Nia, I just remembered a funny saying from childhood. Everyone knows “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but somewhere along the line I learned a variation: “an apple a day keeps the gloomies away.” Maybe that’s where the line about autumn’s gloom came from.

      Enjoy your apples!


  10. Apples are very deserving of your lovely poem. My fruit bowl is filled with them at the moment. I like them right off the tree, in pies and cakes, fried, baked or in apples sauce. An apple is a grand thing all on its own. Throw a little butter, sugar and cinnamon at, it and you have something very fine. Have you had a honey crisp apple? Yum!

    1. Honeycrisps are my favorite for eating, Bella. I didn’t realize until I wrote this and started responding to comments that they’re a fairly new variety, a cross of the Keepsake with… well, with something. The Scientists thought they had the parentage pegged, but the latest word I found is that “the other parent has not been identified.” It happens — although you’d think plant breeders would keep better records.

      Did I give you my recipe for baked oatmeal, which I got from nikkipolani? Here it is. I adapted it this time by adding some raisins with the nuts (walnuts, this time), and throwing in some clove and nutmeg. Just before I bake it tonight, I’ll add some finely chopped apple. I anticipate scrumptiousness, and a delicious breakfast every morning this week, since it microwaves well.


      1. Linda,
        I did know that the honey crisp was new, but I did not know about its parentage. :) I haven’t tried the oatmeal bake yet, but I plan to. It sounds delish and healthy – a good combination.

  11. I don’t know, but the word apple isn’t associated with the fruit in the midst of my mind. For me apple is directly associated with computers and gadgets. Steve Jobs was so infatuated with apples (he was a vegetarian) that he decided to call his company Apple, and the name stayed and pospered.

    We import apples from Chile and the United States. Chistmas would not be Christmas without apples and pears.

    Lovely poem and picture too. Always relish your work, both pictorial and in text.

    Best Wishes,


    1. Well, you’re not in apple country, Omar. It’s not the fruit you grew up with, or looked forward to every year. On the other hand, I don’t remember ever having fresh pineapple until I was in college, or even older.

      I can’t believe I never once thought of Apple computers while I was creating this or responding to comments. To me, “that” kind of apple doesn’t have a thing to do with the fruit. I know there’s an apple symbol on everything, though I didn’t know the story of why Steve Jobs chose the name.

      But for me, “Apple” as it applies to computers is an empty word, with absolutely no associations. In that sense, it’s like “Kleenex” or “Folgers” or “Canon.” It’s a helpful way to differentiate among products, but there aren’t any memories attached — unlike the memory attached to Apple products!

      I always had an apple in my Christmas stocking, and there would be a big bowl of fruit and nuts on the table. It was the only time of year we had almonds, filberts, Brazil nuts — all in the shell. Every home had a special dish for them, with a nutcracker handy. Simple, but so nice.

      I’m glad you liked the little poem/photo combination.I felt like it was time for a little break for such serious subjects.


    1. It’s starting to look like Honey crisp has taken over the world, Jeanie. It’s listed here and there as the #1 favorite. When I looked at the top ten, I found four that I favor: honey crisp, pink lady, Jonagold, and Gala. I just don’t like a softer apple, so I tend away from Golden Delicious and such, except for cooking.

      Your markets must be awash in them now. Surely we’re going to have a Michigan apple post!


    1. I had quite an enjoyable browse through a list of apple varieties today, Anne. I wasn’t at all familiar with many varieties listed for Britain. It seems you have more than enough for celebrating autumn, too.

      I just realized no one’s mentioned apple-bobbing yet, or caramel apples. I see from a quick browse that such things are part of your customs, too. A children’s event in Carmarthenshire County, Wales, in 2010, included “pumpkin lantern carving and parade; apple, turnip and melon carving; apple bobbing; willow weaving; drumming and dancing; shadow puppets; storytelling and face painting as well as a range of children’s workshops.”

      it sounds remarkably like Texas, except for the willow weaving. Lots to enjoy, this time of year.


    1. Look at that. We’re bringing in the harvest, and there, on your side of the world, the cycle’s beginning again. It really is rather comforting, and a nice reminder that what we see in our little slice of the world isn’t the whole picture.

      How’s “the project” coming? I’m still curious as can be, but I know you’ll bring it to fruition and share it in due time. At least, I hope so!


    1. Indeed it does, Friko. I confess I’d never considered autumn a British season, until I started blogging and found so many wonderful photographers (like you!) who showed me a side of your country I’d never seen.

      Now I see you have apples, too. Will wonders never cease?


  12. Thanks for this lovely reflection on a lovely season, although it seems to me to have come too soon this year. I love the image of the apple, a fruit that I did not much enjoy for about 15 years of so because of an allergy that has recently disappeared. I am reacquainting myself with this delightful fruit, which comes in so many more varieties in this part of the world.

    1. There seem to be many who share your regrets about an early autumn, Allen. I suspect part of it is that last winter did linger (and linger and linger). But it’s a lovely season, and even more lovely now that you can partake in what must be its signature fruit.

      Aren’t allergies interesting? I spent years unable to eat cantaloupe, mangoes, and raw carrots without itching: lips, throat and so on. Today? Only the occasional mango gives me trouble. I guess I grew out of it, just as you did. Hooray for proof that aging doesn’t have to be all bad!


  13. Oh, I love this sweet, simple, delightful departure from the more serious! You’re just so thoughtful and creative. Of course, the only gloom that comes from Autumn is for the apples, I guess, if that is when they get picked and meet their demise. Sometimes, I miss the deeper meaning of poems! So, tell me if I’m right? I can’t quite figure out what the rumor of doom is. Maybe it’s talked about in previous comments. If so, just let me know and I’ll peruse when I have more time.

    1. Well, BW, I must confess I didn’t have a specific doom in mind. I only had been thinking about the way media loves to hype up everything coming down the road, and social media is even worse. The Chicken Littles of the world are going to have a field day with the case of Ebola that was confirmed in Dallas today. Yes, it’s serious. No, we’re not all going to die in the next month. (Yes, we had better get with it and treat it as an infectious disease and implement rational controls on who can come into this country.)

      With the poem, I just was in the mood for a little levity, a little play. There’s much more to life than the latest “rumor of doom.” It’s important to stop and realize that, from time to time.


  14. I’m an apple “addict,” Linda, so this photo and poem are right up my alley! To me, one of the better parts of living in Central Illinois is when apple season rolls around, and I can indulge my desire for fresh, juicy apples. Of course, some years are better than others for the crop, but if they don’t produce well here, there’s always Michigan and Washington.

    1. That’s one of the great things about apples, isn’t it? They keep so much better than some fruits — especially the peaches, berries and figs I so enjoy. You’re lucky to be in the heart of real apple country, Debbie. The worst part of posting this has been my daily urge for real, honest-to-goodness fresh pressed cider. Ah, well. At least I can eat an apple!

      And don’t forget the best breakfast in the world: homemade apple pie with a slice or two or sharp cheddar, and a glass of milk.


    1. I do remember those crates, Phil. Sometimes, they weren’t quite strong enough for the load they were carrying. And of course there were the wooden bushel baskets, woven together and secured with wire, with wire handles.

      I poked around a bit, and was surprised how many apple orchards there are in Texas. There’s one in Carthage, which is reachable for anyone (!) in this half of the state. Otherwise, west and north it is.


      1. THose crates were used around our house – they were rough and full of splinters. Some of the woven wooden baskets had a simple turned dowel like handle on the wire.
        More apples are grown locally now despite the climate…still it won’t look like the harvest picture books if it’s 90 degrees…old images hang in there! I’m thinking Washington state…

  15. Trees laden with apples are among the finest pleasures of fall. Here the apples don’t look like that one though. The shiny unblemished ones are found in stores. The ones on the trees out here need a good rubbing to shine up and they usually have evidence of something tasting them before we do. To this day Cherie has trouble eating an apple straight from the tree because she grew up expecting apples to have that perfect polished look they have in stores. I grew up eating them straight off the tree so I expect a different look (and taste).

    Fall is also the right time to plant apple trees. Today we have to go get more pig feed and we know there is a great nursery along the way, so we’re going to also pick up another fruit tree to plant. I’m not sure what we’re going to add this year. I was inclined to put in another Asian pear but now I have apples on my mind. :)

    1. That “tasting” reference is funny, Bill. The acorns and cypress balls are starting to fall here, and if you take a closer look, there are little toothmarks and bites where critters have tested the crop’s ripeness.

      As for that polished look in stores — that was one of my earliest revelations about marketing food. As early as high school I can remember my mom telling me to wash them to get the wax off. It took a little longer to figure out that the biggest apples weren’t always the tastiest.

      But there are beautiful apples to be had, and this surely is one of them: the very essence of appleness.

      I did find Asian pears in the grocery store, and brought one home. I think I may have to wait to find one that’s tree ripened. As you said, it was nice and crisp, but the skin was bitter, and the pear itself didn’t have much flavor. At least now I know what they are.


    1. Mary, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard the word “haiga.” I certainly didn’t know what it meant, and had to look it up. Now, I’m really tickled. It does rather fit the definition, doesn’t it? I’m glad you liked it, and I’m especially glad you introduced me to something new.


  16. Apples are bright and cheerful coming in reds, green and yellow.
    This is a delightful poem like the illustration that goes with it. Thank you. Now, I’m in anticipation for the rest of the trilogy.
    Lately I’ve taken to adding an apple to cole slaw using either a Red Delicious or Granny Smith. I haven’t cooked them yet, though.

    1. You’ve not long to wait, Georgette. I’m going to post Part II tonight. Autumn has many faces, and the second entry will show quite a different one.

      Apples and raisins in coleslaw were the way I learned it was “supposed” to be done. I think it may have been my mother’s attempt to get me to eat some sort of salad, since I wasn’t much of a leaf-muncher as a kid. She succeeded, and apple coleslaw’s still a staple around here in the fall and winter.


    1. What a treat, Steve. Not only is your limerick a witty take on the old advice about an “apple a day,” it’s a perfect addition to National Poetry Day — which happens to be this very day. Thanks for the verse, the smile, and the suggestion that the pedestian apple might help keep “mens sana in corpore sano.”


    1. Thanks, Jeanie. Your markets must be filled with them at this point. The last honey crisps I bought were from New Zealand, for heaven’s sake. I didn’t check the label carefully enough. This weekend, I’m going to try to find some from the new crop, in this country.

      I’m glad you like the limerick, too. I do so enjoy the form. Sometimes, I just can’t help myself.


  17. Interesting you called it reflected light since the color we see is the reflected wavelength. Apples are red because they reflect red and absorb the rest. Were you trying to be so scientific? :)

    1. What? Me? Scientific? You know better than that, Judy. I just was looking for a good word for the title that wasn’t already in the limerick. As Pogo used to say, “Sometimes I is serious, and sometimes I just is.”


  18. On a ‘sometimes I just is’ note. I remember when VO 5 shampoo introduced green apple shampoo. It was a revelation to me that a) shampoo could be so interesting and that b) you could wear essence of apple in your hair. :)

    1. That’s it! I hadn’t gone searching, but I knew there was a green apple shampoo that was around for a while. As I recall, it came into our house in between Prell and…something else. It did smell good, for sure.

  19. Although we have year round fruits, it’s been a very long time since i’ve seen a ripe apple dangling from a limb! While growing up, I often rode my horse beneath the apple tree and plucked an apple or two without stopping. pears weren’t as easy to retrieve…. thanks for zipping me into a back flash!

    1. Lisa, I remember how surprised I was when a friend told me that her family had grown apples in Mississippi. I’m better educated now.
      I can just see you plucking your way through the orchards. It makes sense, of course, since you’re a plucky sort, yourself!

      I just put up a new post with a link to an interview I did,. There’s a photo accompanying the interview, and if you take a good look, I think you’ll recognize where I’m sitting. It’s your back yard, so to speak!


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