Friday, October 23, 2020

Autumn splendor: northern Rockies nature is at its showy best in fall

Autumn colors make a beautiful photo: chokecherries, wild rose, ornamental willow, aspen.


"Life starts all over again, 
Bruce Keller and Christene "Cookie" Meyers
on a walk near their Stillwater home.

when it gets crisp in the fall..."
--F. Scott Fitzgerald


NOWHERE in all my global jaunts have I seen autumns as lovely as Montana's. Sure, the Swiss Alps beg "stay a while" with their dramatic dips. Norway's birch and pine forests charm with their contrasting canvas of yellow, orange and deep green. 
The first scarlets and golds of autumn blanket the forests of Montana.
But Montana's fall takes a towering top place in my seasonal book.
Right now, we're relishing the change in the air, warm days followed by cool evenings, swaying aspen, pirouetting leaves and the distinctive, autumnal feeling that winter is knocking on the door.  
CRITTERS are on the prowl, making nests, stockpiling food, planning for their long winter as we take down screens and replace them with storm windows.
Seasonal birds are gone. The rare migrating grosbeak visits the feeder as the faithful chickadee remains.
I hope to fulfill F. Scott Fitzgerald's encouragement, that "life starts all over the fall."
Boy, howdy, could we use a new beginning to this lousy year with the virus, political unrest, riots, looting and loss of theater, travel, dining out.
Oh, sure, we're still upright, "on the right side of the dirt," as my grandfather Gus said. But won't we all welcome New Year's Eve, as we flip the calendar from 2020 to a new year of promise, 2021?
MEANWHILE, we'll share a few more favorite autumn quotes.
William Cullen Bryant called autumn "the year's last loveliest smile." Emily Bronte waxed poetic with "Every leaf sings bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree."
Poets wax about autumn's splendors, here in the golden
valley of the Stillwater River, near Nye, Montana.

My favorite autumn quote is from Emily Dickinson, who observed that autumn was "A little this side of the snow, and that side of the haze." 
THAT MYSTICAL poet, Albert Camus, called autumn "a second spring, when every leaf is a flower."
Shira Tamir, who writes about nature and the human condition, said “Anyone who thinks fallen leaves are dead has never watched them dancing on a windy day.”
Philosopher, poet Rainer Maria Rilke said of autumn, "At no other time does the earth let itself be inhaled in one smell, the ripe earth; in a smell that is in no way inferior to the smell of the sea, bitter where it borders on taste, and more honeysweet where you feel it touching the first sounds. Containing depth within itself, darkness, something of the grave almost.” 
Bruce Keller and Christene "Cookie" 
Meyers enjoy an autumn walk this week.

We have not experienced a Montana autumn for more than a decade. We're enjoying the colors, warmth and transformation of nature as it unveils.  
It won't last long, so take it in before it vanishes.
HERE IN Montana, the trees will soon be bare and our driveway will accumulate several feet of serious snow.
The good news about winter's much needed moisture is it diminishes fire hazard for next summer and makes the spring grasses all the greener, the first blooms of columbine, wild geranium and lupine all the lovelier.

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.”
--Poet Stanley Horowitz
A father masks himself, and helps his son and daughter
at a grocery and bathroom stop on the road.

UP NEXT: Road trip time. As many of us continue to avoid air travel, we offer updated tips on traveling by auto in these Covid times.  Make certain everyone in the car is equipped with tissue, individual hand sanitizer and a mask for rest stops. The parks are uncrowded, gas is reasonable and it's a good time to appreciate the changing colors.  More tips await next week. Meanwhile  remember to explore, learn and live and catch us Fridays for a fresh look at travel, nature, the arts, family and more:


  1. Beautiful....picture poems....thank you for the lift!

  2. Love this beauty in troubled times....

  3. You come up with some novel ideas at a time when we are all struggling for some excitement and good news. THANK YOU.