Embodying Autumn

I have always had mixed feelings about autumn. As a child, it meant packing the freedom of summer into memory and dreading the impending homework that came with returning to school. Until I went away to North Country School, at the age of 12, I was so intimidated by failing at my coursework that I had recurring nightmares in anticipation. Today, I am generally less anxious as autumn creeps in, but with how exceptionally busy its been lately, and after looking at what remains of my to-do list, I find myself experiencing a familiar feeling of stress.  

It makes sense to feel stressed in the fall because it’s a season of transition. Even people who live in less obvious seasonal climates feels its effects.

I find that my stress in the fall is often offset by the beauty of changing scenery, as intensified by the brilliant contrast of light. I’m going to share a few more photos I took recently, in hopes they give you a break in your day.





How do you respond to autumn?


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20 Responses to Embodying Autumn

  1. Hock says:

    Spectacular pictures! That correlation between transition and stress is so important, and something that all of us forget all too frequently. Thanks for the reminder.

    • eileenrockefeller says:

      I’m so glad to know you tuned in. As the head of North Country School I hope you feel a tinge of satisfaction to hear that even after some 50 years, the place still has an impact on me! Loved your pictures on Facebook of snow on the mountains!

  2. Autumn brings blissful horseback rides through the glorious riot of scarlet & gold –& while air & water stay warm, hour-long swims across Walden Pond & back. It brings chipmunk-satisfaction at stocking in firewood, & starting to make big “horse-mash stews” as I’ve been teased about: hearty goulashes of chicken, root vegetables & wild rice! And it brings renewed gratitude for all blessings of my life, including my daughters alighting for visits. So much joy.

    • eileenrockefeller says:

      Wow! What a different set of associations you have Diana! Lucky for you! I’ll take a page from your book!

  3. Your photos are lovely. There is a chill in the air in autumn, even in your photos. I love the seasons, the beauty of each season is something I like to experience. in autumn I stay in awe at the artistry of nature’s colors, remembering the Hudson River boat trip my husband and I took, when we lived in NYC, the autumn car ride to the White Mountains in New Hampshire, the crunchy sound of dried autumn leaves, underfoot, on a brisk walk, apple cider and the many apple associations we share in the U.S.. Autumn gives us the “umph” to begin, again– So, I will begin, again…

    Your genuine fondness for North Country School sounds like a dedication of songs to me. Do you hear the students singing…

    • eileenrockefeller says:

      I do. I do. They are still singing, as all children do when they are free to be themselves. Thanks for sharing your memories.

  4. Phyll says:

    Love autumn, especially this year, as I was blessed to be able to experience the peak week
    in Vermont and, again, in Michigan. Love your photos, Eileen. So beautiful! You’ve inspired
    me to write a poem:

    Lingering leaves,
    Change slowly.

    Palettes of color
    Illuminated skies.
    Crimson cuddles
    Yellow yearnings,
    Orange, “oh my’s!
    Splashes of wonder,
    Brighten my eyes.

    Heart miles,
    Soul smiles.

    • eileenrockefeller says:

      So dear of you to share your freshly inspired poetry Phyll. Thanks for the color of your words!

  5. Patty Patterson says:

    Again, what a wonderful gift comes in my mail every Tuesday! Thanks for sharing some East Coast beauty that I recall so fondly.

    • eileenrockefeller says:

      I was just wondering if anyone from the west coast read my blog and there you are! I’m so happy to include you Patty. You from wherever you live, are no doubt witnessing a transition of seasons too. May it be filled with pauses of wonder.

  6. Beautiful Autumn photos Eileen. I love Autumn for the light is less intense and there is relief from intense heat; it is also a time of the great migration of Raptors from the northern to the southern hemispheres for the winter—- and it is exciting to identify a variety of Hawks, and even Eagles (yes they are slowly returning to Marin County) as they pass over the Marin Headlands on their journeys south. For me, the beauty of Fall colors portends change toward oncoming winter. Trees shed their drying, and one could say dying leaves, and Spring brings new growth–buds– which carry renewed life. It is this cycle that evokes awe within me and even hope for our planet and its inhabitants!!

    • eileenrockefeller says:

      And yet another from the west coast! Thank you Louise, for chiming in. How interesting that on the west coast you see less intense light, while on the east coast I find it to be the opposite. What a wondrously diverse world we live in! xoxo

  7. Bill Stetson says:

    Eileen- Thank you for the beautiful photos…especially impactful, as Jane and I missed much of the Vermont color this year. We saw some in Sweden and Denmark two weeks ago.

    Autumn is beautiful, but complex. The ecological and emotional intertwine.

    And as for that feeling that accompanied the return to school…it lingers on!

    Much love to you and Paul.

  8. eileenrockefeller says:

    How good to hear from you Bill. I never know what post will hit a nerve, but am so glad to know that I helped to fill in a little of the color you might have missed while in Sweden and Denmark. If you are back I hope we will see you before long. What full plates we have as the seasons keep turning. Love to you both.

  9. Dan Slutsky says:

    Love photography Eileen, and love your photos. You capture the emotions of fall colors and dusk very beautifully.

    I live in Austin, TX, where we have more muted fall colors, but our own version of reds and yellow leaves to signal a coming change.

    But what will be forever emblazoned in my mind are the fall climbs up Trouble Mountain at North Country School to see the colors carpeted across the mountains, and the first frosts seen in the morning walk to barn chores. The beautiful rows of sunflowers and colorful flowers planted by Helen Haskell, a tradition now carried on by many others at school and camp, had frosted tips and you knew they soon would fall to the cold and snow. I have memories of you as an older student when I first arrived in ’65, and of your brother, Richard as well – playing and singing with his guitar.

    You have reignited my wish to revisit the northeast once again, camera in hand to get reacquainted with the fall colors after so many years! 🙂

    P.S. I’ve been enjoying your blog and very much appreciate the thoughtfulness you express about so many things in life, including wonderful memories as students at North Country!

    • eileenrockefeller says:

      What a thrill to hear from you Dan, after all these years. I remember you well at NCS, and cherish similar memories up Trouble and especially the squeaky sound of boots on snow in -30 degrees temperatures on our way to barn chores! If you get east, please let me know. It would be nice to connect again. All the best. Eileen

      • dan slutsky says:

        So great to receive your reply, Eileen! I get back to NYC at least once a year to visit family and friends, usually in July or August, and would love to meet up with you. I’ve lived for many years in Ft. Lauderdale and now in Austin, but still love the city and all that it has to offer. Is this the best way to contact you?

        Warm regards,

        [email protected]
        512 797-4984

  10. Paul Binder says:

    Oh yes, Eileen, I had those nightmares too! But Autumn has always brought the kind of beauty that you caught in your photos…and my birthday in October and then all those years that brought the opening of the Big Apple Circus in Lincoln Center. Thanks for your weekly posts and best to yours.

  11. Eileen, it was such a great pleasure meeting you and hearing you speak at the Atlanta History Center last week. Along your journey of finding yourself you have helped so many others and the world is better for it. What gorgeous photos! You are talented in so many ways! (Yes, gushing flattery – all true!). I hope I didn’t startle you with my “southern hug” at the end of the evening. That’s just what we do down here… Please say hello to Carla. It was an extra treat meeting her. Check out my FB page to see a couple of photos from the evening. Thanks again for the fantastic evening at the History Center.

  12. eileenrockefeller says:

    Hi Jennifer. It was a real treat to meet you and bond with a fellow red-head! I enjoyed our walk together and the chance to get to know you a little. Hugs are always good in my book! You would match the photos of this post very well! Thanks for tuning in. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see the photos on your Facebook, due to settings. Thanks for writing.

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