“How beautiful leaves grow old,
How full of light and color are their last days.” – John Burroughs
I have so many wonderful memories of fall while growing up and then while raising our family. I always loved the return of cooler temperatures, the chance to wear a sweater again, the bright cheerful fall leaves, the crunch of walking through fallen leaves.
One of the best things is, of course, the colors of the leaves as they change from green to both vibrant and subdued colors. These color changes inspire people to travel to northern climes to take “color tours”. When we lived in Northern Michigan we saw scores of tour buses meandering the area taking in the colors, stopping to purchase apples of all colors and bright orange pumpkins, and sipping cider to wash down delicious warm apple doughnuts fresh from the kitchens of the roadside stands.
Some of the most vibrant colors of fall are in the red-orange-yellow part of the spectrum. The Evergreens provide a beautiful backdrop for these vivid colors and the brown of the oaks and other trees provide a lovely counterpoint to the vividness of their more showy neighbors.
The explosion of color in fall, this effusive display of color, comes just before winter, when things are quieter, the colors muted into whites, grays, dark browns and blacks. But most people greet fall with an excitement inspired by this array of warm colors that appeals to the eye and the soul as well.
Have you ever thought about why this is? The colors themselves, being in this warmer end of the spectrum, are indeed imbued with the ability to excite our nervous system. Our bodies literally react to these bright colors with an increase in heart rate, and a rise in our body temperature. The warm colors speed up our systems and elevate our spirits. It is no wonder that many people say fall is their favorite season. For the most part we feel more alive thanks to the effect warm colors have on our bodies.
As you yourself experience fall, think about what each color family in this warm spectrum means:
Red: This color connects us to the earth, helps us to ground, assists us in manifesting, inspires passion, and excites our systems more than any other hue. There are many shades of red in fall colors from deep reds even into purples and into the bright, bright reds of sugar maples.
Orange: This color against a cobalt blue fall sky is one of my favorite sights. I can’t tell you how many hundreds of photos I have taken over the years of orange leaves against a clear, deep blue sky. Perhaps that is because over the years I have learned to love orange, the color of community, creativity, connection as well as the color we use to heal trauma and overcome challenges. It is a juicy color that just makes me happy, and rightly so as it is the color of bliss, very Joseph Campbell like.
Yellow: This hue is associated with fall in my mind as the color of school buses and goldenrod. As a child I hated to see goldenrod bloom because it meant those carefree summer days were coming to an end and we would soon be back in school. I liked school, but I loved summer. Yellows make us happy too and they help us assimilate things from foods to knowledge. Adding yellow to a student’s environment will help them remember what they are studying.
Green is not strictly a fall color, but it is present in the fall as the backdrop for the bright colors. Green is the bridge from the warm to the cool colors and in our chakra system it is also the color of the heart, the center of our energy centers. As such, I decided to include it here as I find it a great part of the Divine plan that in the background of all the fall’s feverish colors, green provids the base, the grounding if you will, for all this energy. Green provides the heart beat of the season, the steadying influence. In spite of all the frivolity of fall colors, green is still there, still steady, still the frame for the scenes in front of our eyes.
We may as well speak to Brown as well for fall colors do contain this earth color. They may not take center stage but brown is even earthier and more grounding. It doesn’t scream for attention but rather goes about its job as being the anchor and the more serious influence doing its job well but quietly. It is friendly and doesn’t care if the colors around it create a fiesta, for it knows well enough that those colors need their quiet backdrop in order to shine more brightly. Just as a star or a politician needs a quieter partner, someone to steady them, someone to keep them grounded and anchored, so, too, do browns provide this for their showier sisters and brothers. After all, if everything were a bright vibrant hue, with no contrast, we could not appreciate the liveliness in those colors. And if everyone were a star or politician, there would be no one to watch or hear them. Our friend brown provides this contrast brilliantly.
With this in mind, then, I hope you enjoy your fall and seeing the colors as you move through each day.
by Diantha Harris