Now I Understand Autumn

I grew up in Western Australia. We may have had a deciduous tree with changing leaf colour on my home farm or local town but I don’t recall it. Once I found a few red leaves beneath a eucalyptus. Such excitement! I did see autumnal colour before adulthood but never more than a few trees together.

I moved to England several years ago and began to see what all the northern hemisphere books of my childhood were on about: pale yellow leaves en masse; the occasional – and, hence, for me, sought after – red-leafed tree; a dash of orange perhaps. It’s a pleasurable way to mark the transition to colder months but, at least where I live, leaves are brown and crunchy by the time they fall to the ground – or become so very quickly. The real beauty lies in the dark intricacies of bare winter trees. Autumn is a passage more than a destination.

In Norrkoping, Sweden, I finally got autumn.

This, as I alighted from the train:


Carpets of leaves, deep and spongy, cover paths, roads, steps, parks. People talk of the silence of snow; this autumn is my silence.


The gold is alive, vibrating with nuances of colour.

In my primary school classes, we sometimes constructed dioramas – boxes containing a scene from a book, an historical event etc. Being within the bounds of Norrkoping for two days I felt as if I’d been plucked from my normal life and lowered into some kind of multi-sided diorama: Autumn for Beginners.


Each leaf is defined and begs consideration but, like shells on a beach, or rocks in a scree field, makes a delight of the collective.


 Leaves tinkle as the wind skitters them across bitumen.

Leaves tinkle as the wind skitters them across bitumen.


Even on the cool journey home, one is enfolded by the warmth of autumn.

Autumn in Norrkoping is bold, invigorating, vast and luxurious yet snug and detailed.

It has explained.



4 responses to “Now I Understand Autumn

  1. Glorious photos! They reward time spent noticing the details – could get lost in those colours!

  2. Such a way with words Annie…I could be there!

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