Autumn, Nature

Autumn leaves ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ A purposeless partial peck of pictures




None of these snaps are stellar examples of photography.  They’re meant for a quick flip through, to enjoy the autumn colors.

I didn’t have much free time this autumn, to walk through the woods while the leaves were doing their amazing color transformation.


Sugar maples are my favorites – – creating an incredible number of variations in shades and patterns.

I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch, to compare the loose leaves, to leaves of books – – like a visit to a big library, there’s always going to be just too many to look at and take in.

And the maple leaves are already coming down and fading – – we need some clever tree botanists to improve their shelf life.  Keep the colored leaves on display longer.

Arboriculturist is the term for a tree botanist, I think, making me a humble arboricultourist.

The leaves get stamped by librarians, and anyone else walking, Expired, and turn to brown, way too quickly.  The show is done, and the woods are dun.

When the pages of old documents and books have begun turning brown, the librarians and archivists call them “foxed.”

Well, no good.  Yet another thing that needs fixing.  I think foxes are beautiful, and using them to describe splotches of mold/fungus/rust in dusty old books is highly inappropriate.

I thought of how to replace this term without slandering foxes.

“Warthogged”?  Warthogs are grayish, not brown, so that won’t work.


photo from


I think I found the solution in a fish market.

Monkfish.  Delicious, but ugly as homemade sin, it’s amazing the fisherfolk don’t throw them back in the ocean.  They look like dead blobby aliens, that the harbor patrol pulled up, bloated and brown, after a couple weeks underwater.

And as big-mouthed bottom-feeders, perfect for our current times.

So we’re going to call the paper leaves with brown splotches “monk-fished,” and this term works well with old manuscripts.

“Brown” has positive attributes, of course.  People associate it with Earth.

Down-to-earth, soil, wood, wholesome, organic.

Plain, wholesome.  Good ol’ Charlie Brown.

President Reagan used to wear brown suits, I think it helped project an image of reliability.



But perhaps in modern/urban days, brown has a less positive image.  The sky in Atlanta or L.A..  The administration packed with brown-nosers.  Remember in “Reservoir Dogs,” when the robbers are assigned color codenames?  Quentin Tarantino, that arbiter of good taste, objects to being called “Mr. Brown,” which he associates with…organic waste, although he used a different term.  (Tim Roth was “Mr. Orange,” and remained silent, it was good he didn’t ask for “Mr. Taupe,” since that’s French for “mole.”)

Brown is also the color of dead leaves, once this colorful time has wound down, and they’re just a heap of decaying cellulose.  Well, here’s a handful (maybe a peck, certainly not a bushel) of autumn leaves, still dressed up for their last hurrah.
























1963 “Ugly Brown” Lee Hazlewood


33 thoughts on “Autumn leaves ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ A purposeless partial peck of pictures

  1. Some fascinating thoughts here Robert, on a topic I’ve never given much attention to (until now). Monkfished sounds good to me for another reason. All those decaying brown leaves on the forest floor, getting all squishy and soggy that you can easily slip on them as if they were a load of slimy fishies. “I went for a walk and monkfished on a pile of beech leaves. Left my trousers all muddy!”

    • Yes, deep thoughts, Denzil, as always, like a long walk on a short pier. I really like your usage, and muddy leaves sometimes have a fishy sort of odor.
      From looking at your posts, it looks like the woods in Belgium have lots of oaks and beeches? So mostly a russet & tawny kind of autumn?

  2. Brown. That is my husband’s last name. When I was pregnant I decided we had better come up with interesting and unusual first names to counteract the ubiquitous last name of Brown. And btw I have never changed my last name to Brown. I’m the last person with my last name in our clan so I insisted on keeping it and both our kids have double barreled names. Our daughter however took her husband’s last name. Anyway, interesting post and lovely photos.

  3. I like the mottled leaves in your photo dsc00244.

    Clever of you to turn arboriculturist into arboricultourist. During our pandemic times arboricultourism is relatively safe because it takes place in the great outdoors (in fact some of those doors might even be made from wood of the same type as the trees being arboricultouristed).

    At the end of your post you wound down brown, even to that song sung by Lee Hazlewood, whom I’d forgotten about. The Wikipedia article about him provides some interesting information, like the fact that Nancy Sinatra described him as “part Henry Higgins and part Sigmund Freud.”

    • Thanks, Steve. I like hazelnuts, too, although I’ve never seen an orchard with them. They’ve been grown commercially in Oregon, and mostly come from Turkey and Italy, but I just saw a Cornell post, promoting them as a high profit crop for NY.

  4. Even though you had very little time to capture the splendour of the autumn colours this year, your display of images gives a good impression o what fall looks like in your neck of the woods. The red colour really shines on your last photo, Robert, as if to say, “Give me a little more time to praise this glorious season before I fade away into oblivion.”

  5. Darts and Letters says:

    In Pike Place Market for years the fishmongers right out front have boobytrapped one of the monkfish so that when an unsuspecting tourist gets too close for a picture, the thing JUMPS out at them with gaping mouth, lol

  6. Nice fall color. We’re just getting into ours, although there isn’t that much in the countryside. Are these from NY or WI?

    Ugly, big-mouthed bottom feeders. Truly a sign of the times – and an insult to monks.

    • These were old shots from NY, Milwaukee has had some decent color, but I haven’t been photographing anything lately.
      Those fish really are ungodly ugly, aren’t they. The one time I saw it on special, and could afford to buy it, getting it ready to cook was weird, it’s compartmentalized with a tough, clear membrane, you have to saw out, almost kind of creepy.

  7. Purposeless? Hardly. There’s a generous spirit of wanting to share your world at work here. Those Sugar maples sure are beautiful! I appreciate seeing them because we have nothing like that here. And of course, I enjoyed the free associations…monkfished, huh? I’m not sure it’ll catch on. 🙂

  8. I really enjoyed these photos. For me, the best thing about autumn leaves, once they’re separated from their trees, is the fragrance of them on the ground when they’re wet, and the pleasant noises the dry ones make when I shuffle through them. There’s not much experience of either around here, but in east Texas I found a few to shuffle through last weekend. None were as colorful as these, unfortunately, but at least I got sound to make up for a lack of sight.

  9. I sure love the idea of a botanist coming up with a way to make the autumn leaves hang on a bit longer. If you find one, let me know. I love all of those colours. I love the contradiction in the fact that it is matter that is dying and yet it is fiery, vibrant and passionate to the last. Wonderful metaphor for a life well lived, I think.

Leave a Reply to Pit Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s