At Lady Autumn’s Command

It’s getting annoying. The constant, imperious interruptions. Can’t a girl get some peace?

I have been promising Wild Edge readers a Finger Lakes series for weeks. But every time I try to sit down and edit the photos, something else intervenes. From outside my window, the call comes, beckoning – no, demanding.



I tried, but failed, to resist the siren song of September. October was no different. It’s the trees this time. Changing day-by-day to brilliant gold and crimson. The march of the seasons goes relentlessly on, no matter what. One ignores it at one’s peril.

Once again, I am at Lady Autumn’s command.

I snuck out for a little time outdoors, away from the computer. I was happily minding my own business when Lady Autumn tapped me on the shoulder.

“Ahem. Look at my beautiful berries, please.”

“Pssst! Over here!”

Her Ladyship’s whisper caught my ear.

Didn’t she have something better to do than bother me?

Then I whirled to find the sun glinting through golden trees across the road.







I suddenly stumbled. Oh great, now things on the forest floor are tripping me.

THIS leaf.

At home I tried to work, but concentration was for naught. She wouldn’t leave me alone. “How dare you ignore the mountainsides aflame in my autumnal colors? This won’t last forever, you know. Time is fleeting!”

She was right. I HAD to be where the action was. So I left my computer behind and, hopelessly under Her Ladyship’s spell, went off in search of fall foliage.

One must be careful about placing too much trust in the promises of the Court of the Seasons. Anticipation was high for an unusually colorful autumn foliage display. Coupled with the crystalline blue skies of October, it would be a photographer’s dream.

Except… for the next two weeks, at the height of the season, the vibrant show was set against a backdrop of fog and low gloomy clouds. Lady Autumn’s little joke. I didn’t find it amusing.

Nonetheless, I was determined to try, and drove through the fog to a lake in the southern Pocono Mountains. There are times when fog can add mystery to an image, wispy tendrils of mist dancing on the water.

This wasn’t one of those times. Nothing but low clouds obscuring the landscape. I muttered one brief curse at Lady A’s twisted sense of humor, and let it go, gliding into the calm of the lake.

My paddle gently stirring the glassy surface, I drifted eastward. Above me the hills rose, garbed in robes of brilliant leaves and deep green needles. Oaks and maples, interspersed with stands of hemlocks.

Another tapping on my shoulder. “Look, over here.” Her Ladyship again. She’s a demanding sort, that one. Always needs to be the center of attention.

A fisherman tried to upstage her by leaving a lure in a tree. Not a smart idea. Her Ladyship does not suffer fools gladly.

She continued to pester me: THIS tree.

I followed her call to the banks of the Lehigh River. I was enjoying capturing the golden trees, the rocks and the stream in long exposures, but she had other ideas…

… and interrupted my contented work.

“Admire my lovely mushrooms!” she ordered.

I threw up my hands in exasperation. “If you please, Your Ladyship, I’m a little –

ooh, mushrooms!”





The water giggled at my predicament…


…spilled over the rocks in an exuberant rush…

… only to slow, and in hushed stillness reflect on the beauty of the hill above. I walked on, finding evidence of autumn at every turn.

A few days later I visited Hawk Mountain with my friends. Now, we know better than to visit a world-renowned hawk watch during peak hawk migration, on a Saturday no less. We did it anyway.

Another cloudy, gloomy day, with few hawks, and many, many people. It seems that Lady Autumn has abandoned any attempt at being selective about who may join her entourage. She’ll take anyone who fawns appropriately over her beauty.

Despite the ill-mannered characters in the crowd, I managed to get a few images of the ridges and the valley below. Gloomy or not, the trees were spectacular.

The wind was picking up, and flocks of leaves flew by. Late in the day, there was a large flight of hawks. Also, miracles of miracles, some sunshine.

Long after we left, of course. Do you hear Her Ladyship laughing at us?

A hike at Catoctin Mountain Park was the last stop in my annual pilgrimage to the altar of Lady Autumn. The trees were more bare-branched than not. Only the beeches, sassafras trees and a few maples held their brightly hued leaves.

I stumbled. Geez, she’s at it again, recruiting her small treasures to stop me in my tracks.

THIS mushroom.

THAT leaf.

We have but a few short weeks to take in the beauty of fall, that wonderful time when trees prepare for the cold days to come with a brief glorious bust of color. Winter is the time for telling tales of seasons past. Now is the time to go outside and savor the wonder of fall before the leaves are gone.

NOW is the time to answer Her Ladyship’s call.

Thankfully, I remain at Lady Autumn’s command. Always.

P.S. Of course the sun returned with seven days of brilliant blue skies, just after the leaves had fallen and the trees were bare.

Lady Autumn had the last laugh.