In talking with neighbours and friends, we all agree the foliage this year seems particularly spectacular. Brighter, more vibrant than other years. I thought maybe my eyes were just metaphorically more open, more observant of the changing colours, and so that was why they seem extra beautiful fantastic this Autumn. It happens every year, predictably. i must be more attuned to noticing life's beauties this year. Nope. Everybody seems to be making extra effort to get out to the woods for walks and hikes. We want to be immersed in these living works of art.
So I thought to myself, "Is there a scientific reason the leaves are brighter this year?" I wondered if the drought in July, the late spring or the sunny October days may account for the beauty. Tree experts in the news hazard best guesses, but there seems to be no known cause. What?! Hold the phone. A mystery! An inexplicable, un-Googleable, spontaneous mystery? No identifiable, quantifiable answer! This is amazing, to me. Stand and behold this magnificent wonder.
In a world where there are answers to everything, I am in awe. Whenever I need a recipe substitution, a tip for getting crayon off walls, an answer about what kind of dinosaur that is, where the closest Bridgehead Coffee is located, there is always an answer within a few seconds of beginning a Google search. This convenience and access to answers is amazing; a true testament to the unfathomable, limitless capacity of the human mind for technological innovation.
Today, there is no answer at my computer. There is only hiking. It began a beautiful, warm morning with a weather forecast promising blue skies. My sister, Summer and I drove into Gatineau Park, an area people will drive from hours away to visit this time of year. We chose a 2.5km hike around Pink Lake and began to bear witness. That's all one can do, really. Unanswerable questions like "why are the leaves so beautiful?" are shifted aside to make room for awe and wonder.
Gold-leafed trees erupted all around us, as though we were walking through a film reel edited to display only yellow tones. We turned into the sun and the lake was alight with turquoise, a pop of jewel tone among the rich hues of the trees. Further along the path, the maples weren't just red, they were nearly neon. The orange leaves weren't ruddy, they were glowing like fire. There simply weren't enough ways for me to categorize, document, and describe the wonders my eyes beheld. So instead, I walked among them, let their magic pour over me and into me. The warm sun blessed my skin, and I felt communion with every other leaf touched by the same rays.
When something so rare as an unidentifiable phenomenon comes along, one so obviously beautiful and so easily accessible to people from all walks of life, I am humbled beyond questions. I obey. I worship. I absorb what magic I can and I feel what it is to be present. Not curious, not pensive, just part of a fleeting Autumn season's beauty.
If you have time for a walk or for a longer hike, I implore you. Go. Leave devices and the world of answers behind. Go for a walk with mystery, even a short after-dinner stroll through beauty and wonder. May it leave you awe-struck, even just a little. Let the wonder still your busy mind.