The Fleeting Beauty of Fall

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It literally happens overnight.

I first noticed it on my favourite pathway, the one I’ve been enjoying all summer long. It takes me through the woods and for ten or fifteen minutes, I’m surrounded by critters, which is a hell of a lot better than walking on Merivale Road and being around traffic.

One morning, two weeks ago, I was greeted by a lone squirrel on a naked branch who seemed to be wondering where to hide. I could spot bird nests and woodpecker holes carved into trunks. Wait… wasn’t that tree green the day before?

It was starting—the leaves were leaving.

Summer leads to fall and fall leads to winter—we know the annual cycle but the story unfolds slightly differently each year. Plot development isn’t that predictable. Some years, fall can be like a long French movie where you can almost see each leaf changing colour while having an identity crisis and wondering about the meaning of life. Some years, it’s more like an American action movie with leafy trees going bare in a matter of hours.

I feel a sense of urgency. I want to enjoy warmish weather while I still can—sure, it’s 10⁰C but hey, good enough for a bomber jacket, anything but a winter coat! Right, it’s raining… but at least, it’s not snowing!

I know I have to capture the scenery fast because it could be gone the next day.

Last weekend, we went to Rideau Hall, the official residence in Ottawa of the Canadian monarch, to enjoy the fall colours. About a million of Chinese tourists had the same idea (and completely outclass me in terms of camera gear) but there was enough room for all of us.

At the end, we tried to recreate this picture of Mark as a newborn and me at Gatineau Park (Mark is a bit heavier now…).

First days of fall in Ottawa

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall (recreating a picture of Mark as a newborn)

Fall colours at Rideau Hall (recreating a picture of Mark as a newborn)

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Fall colours at Rideau Hall

Geese about to fly South on Sussex Drive

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

14 Comments

  1. Ha ha ha. French films. Sometimes I take friends to a French film, not knowing what the film will be like, and if/when it turns out to be slow and/or weird, I am always grateful if the friends appreciate the weirdness instead of complaining about it.

    I am like you– around this time, though it’s chilly, I layer up with my light jackets and sweaters because I want to hold off wearing my winter down jacket. Once I start wearing it, I’ll be wearing it every day for months. I have a variety of fall/spring jackets but only one winter jacket. Not the most exciting fashion wear.

    Nice photos! All the maples– how Canadian. 🙂 Looks like a fun time, too. And wow, the scenery last year was so vibrant too!

    • Do you manage to find French movies in the US? I used to rent the selection Blockbuster had, it was perfect, they were subtitled. Of course, Blockbuster closed a few years ago and even if I download a French movie, there are no subtitles for non-English speakers.

      • There are French cultural organizations in NYC that screen films, as well as independent theaters. The subtitles are usually in English. I also borrow from the NJ public library, which gives access to a rather large network of branches..

  2. Martin Penwald on

    In North America, squirrels are often considered as a nuisance.
    Hence this statement : squirrels are rats with a good PR team.

  3. I love fall. My favourite season. I’m even starting to make peace with november (the most depressing and dull month, right?)
    Your pictures are always comforting when I need comfort. 🙂

  4. I love your autumnal pictures. I went to check the ones with Mark as a baby too, I didn’t remember seeing them! So tiny, so cute!
    I am a bit disappointed that there are far less maples here. I don’t see as many spectacular colors as you do.

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