The days are cooler and shorter and the nights are colder and longer. There is a nip and a chill in the air. The clouds are leaden and the sun emits relatively little heat. The rains come down more frequently.
Autumn has arrived in Toronto in earnest.
It’s not my favorite season. I’m a summer person who revels in warm weather.
Yet the fall has one redeeming feature that Canadians appreciate — the spectacular display of vibrant fall colors. It’s really a magical time of year, lasting only several tantalizing weeks.
As the temperatures plunge during the second and third week of September, the green leaves on deciduous trees, such as maples, aspens, sycamores and oaks, begin turning shades of red, yellow, orange, brown and purple.
I’m always impressed by this awe-inspiring autumnal transformation. The palette of colors are amazing, a transcendent work of art. It’s best to admire fall colors on a bright sunny day when the temperature reaches around 15 degree celsius. Afternoons are better because it’s usually warmer.
The rays of the sun accentuate the colors, turning red into fiery crimson, yellow into molten gold, orange into flaming citrus, brown into earthen hues and purple into shades of black.
The juxtaposition of these colors against the blue sky is awesome and soul-stirring.
Luckily, I live in a neighborhood with fairly old-growth trees and an extensive tree canopy. This means I don’t have to go far to watch nature’s majestic show unfolding from September to November.
A few days ago, I left the house for a late morning walk to savour autumn in its full regalia. As I paused under the gnarled branches and shiny leaves of magnificent trees, I felt calm and serene, and a smile creased my face. I was fully engaged in the moment, and the political crises in our unstable and unpredictable world suddenly seemed minor, if not irrelevant.
That following morning, with the sun shining, I cycled to High Park, one of my favorite places in the city. The burning red and golden yellow leaves were mesmerizing. I wasn’t the only one transfixed by a state of admiration and wonder.
The park was crowded with people absorbing the magnificent views, snapping photographs and enjoying what will probably be some of the last days of decent weather before winter sets in yet again.
When I returned home, I headed for a nearby ravine which cuts through the rear side of a fine residential neighborhood of stately detached homes and big trees. The sun shone down on me at a sharp angle, but as soon as I had walked about 200 meters, it suddenly disappeared behind the thick woods.
Unfortunately, the ravine was not the best place to see autumn colors. Only a few scattered trees were in glorious”bloom,” and they stopped me in my tracks.
The dirt path running through the ravine was coated with a blanket of bleached and brittle dead leaves, crunching and flying low as I walked over them. The leaves gave off the heady and heavenly fragrance of wood smoke, an enchanting odour that only a Canadian autumn can release.