In autumn, every place feels sacred. The light slants at a low, golden angle, refracting through foliage like stained glass. At every step you are reminded of mortality by the crunch of leaves underfoot while you harbor the hidden hope that this too will be green (again) in spring.
Autumn air is crisp and scented with a potpourri of dried leaves: who needs either incense or censer in this open-air cathedral, the now-bare limbs of early-turning maples arching overhead like beams. In autumn, the whole landscape is gilded, tricked in light and color, consecrated by the passage of time: a cathedral as old and as sacred as ages. Why do you need to step inside a church in autumn when being inside right now feels like its own kind of sacrilege? New England churches should be required to have skylights–or better yet, removable roofs–to let in as much golden light as possible: light straight from heaven, filtered through falling leaves.
(I wrote these two paragraphs in one of this morning’s First Year Writing Seminars, given the five-minute writing prompt of “Sacred Space.” I’ve been buried in papers these past few weeks, so I haven’t had much time to go leaf-peeping. Today’s photos prove, however, that you needn’t go far to see leaves in New England, as I shot the first photo in a grocery store parking lot and the second while I was waiting for a traffic light to change on my way home from buying pet supplies.)