"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

19 September 2011

Autumn Rust

We sat in the kitchen after the walkabout, with scents of a roasting chicken and root vegetables perfuming the air. It was cocktail hour. Outside, it was raining. At higher elevations, we'd seen the first heavy, wet snowflakes of the season. By the time we had reached our destination, the upslope storm, which was backed up against the eastern face of the Roof of the World, began to spill over. The fog reduced visibility on the tundra to maybe twenty feet, and that was with a wrinkle, a squint, and giving a benefit of the doubt.

Our companion was telling us about deals and steals he'd gotten at his local farmer's market. He spoke of making pestos and freezing peaches for cobblers later, in the deep winter. Ways of preparing for the coming season. As he spoke, my glance tracked across the valley in the pouring rain. The clouds hung just over the Bull's Head, just a few hundred feet above Rue Main. It was in those moments I found myself coming to grips with the realization that summer was over and done with.

For the next four days it was close-toed shoes and socks. Jackets and layers. Thankfully, the dusting we saw upon the high peaks never came any further down than a little lower than ten-thousand, but there was still the nip in the air, letting everyone and everything know autumn had come to the pointy lands.

A popular question amongst the tourists this time of year is when will the aspens change. Whilst I agree the changing of foliage can be quite striking-we even have a festival about it in these parts, but us kooky mountain folk will use just about any old excuse to throw a party-there's something about traveling distances just to watch the trees rust that seems a little silly. It seems a little later this year than others, but over the last few days I've seen more and more omens of the season, the autumn rust.

"I'd like it a lot better if it didn't mean winter was so close," Sabina lamented when I pointed out some fading green.

Normally, I rather enjoy autumn. I accept the coming of winter, because that's part of the cycle. Besides, living in the mountains, one has to deal with it for at least half a year.

This year I find myself not as thrilled at the sight of autumn rust. It was a hot summer, and that was quite enjoyable up here. Of course, given it snowed pretty well through spring, making it winter, the sequel, there was a consensus among a good many of us that we should get an extended summer. Of course, as the old song says, you can't always get what you want. Mei fei tsu.

I watch the trees rust, figuring in the next few days the mountainsides will turn the colors of spun gold, flames, and emerald. My layers are ready, but, in the High Country, you never really put away your cold-weather clothes. You just fetch your raiment from another section of the wardrobe. I hope for an indian summer, but work on accepting the fact autumn is here, and the first snows are not far behind.


  1. While I envy you the mountains, I feel I wouldn't envy you the winter quite so much. I can only hope autumn slips in gently rather than blusters in with feeling.

  2. Enjoyed this post and thought the ending was really descriptive and worked well. Always good to pop over and read your posts.

  3. Light208; Winters here can be rather long, dark, and cold. It can be a little painful for me what with my twisted skeleton, but I take it as the price to be paid.

    Happy Frog and I; Thank you. Glad you liked it.

  4. I always forget how much I hate the cold until it comes back around and reminds me.
    I do, however, enjoy the winter. There are a lot less people mulling around outside, and far fewer who think I should be out there with them.

    I do like the way you paint autumn.

  5. I don't mind snowshoeing, but the cold can be a bit trying at times. Thank you for the compliment.

  6. Beautiful post, I liked it very much. I'm a summer person and I really hate cold so I probably wouldn't survive where you live.

  7. Only you can make chicken roasting, making pestos and watching the leaves change sound manly and mystic at the same time. I always conjure up images of the old west (except high up in the snow capped mountains) from your posts.

  8. Starlight; Thank you. I'm a fan of summer myself. Not as many layers.

    Shopgirl; Thank you. Actually, the place I live, being an old silver mining town, does have a short Old West look to it.