Friday, September 21, 2012


It’s September 21, 2012, the first official day of autumn. Recently I was concurring with an English pen pal that with the onset of fall, a melancholy is often left in its wake – that even with all the delights offered by the poetry of this glorious season, in tandem lingers a mild saddening. Bittersweet was the word that came to mind. No sooner had the word flowed from my pen, I was off to the dictionary to look up its origins.
Well, there’s a plant called Bittersweet, Celastrus Orbiculatis, but why its oxymoronic name? It’s named after its roots which are said to taste bitter, then sweet when chewed. I then continued to learn that bittersweet is also a name of a deep, dark to reddish orange color. Its seminal beginnings come from well, duh… the seed... its color that is.

All the more reason to refer to autumn as “bittersweet.”!
But what about autumn’s cohort, moodiness? Could it be the darkening days, the donning of sweaters, the plaintiff early morning cries of the foghorn? All these herald the next season we know is in the store…winter. But before winter overtakes us, creeping in, even under the door, turning us all into a pile of frozen bones, nature takes her one last hurrah, color abounds and the entire region is awash in bittersweet.  From spawning salmon in the Pacific Northwest creeks,

to breathtaking foliage at every turn, 

Photo by Elizabeth Brown

we revel in this riot of color.
Is it not a coincidence that the bittersweet’s complement on the color wheel is blue, melancholy’s cloak?

We must have both, the warm and the cool to be complete. This goes for an architectural color palette as well as for nature’s tableau.
So get out, this fall, take a bittersweet walk,

Savor the bittersweet harvest,

And count your lucky stars that your bittersweet senses are in full tilt. 
Elizabeth Brown  206-353-0454


Kristie at The said...

Such lovely thoughts, Elizabeth! Autumn makes me sad every year, because I dread the cold winter months and the shortened days. Still trying to figure out how to get designing gigs in Florida over the winter months . . .

Elizabeth Brown said...

Thank you Kristie for your kind words. As to a winter escape, while still being able to make a living... I'm plotting as well. It only takes a thought, right?

jami corddry said...

Dear Elizabeth,
What a beautiful blog post; thoughts,words, images. It's funny though, fall is my favorite time of year because of the promise of cooler weather. After months of heat and no rain, I long for an energizing nip in the air! Numerous projects await!


Elizabeth Brown said...

Thanks, Jami. Yes, the cooler air does feel nice and this is a great time to be outside. What projects do you have in store?

24 Corners said...

Thoughts of winter are definitely bittersweet...the sweet being that spring is on it's heels, the bitter...that wet & cold go hand in hand with it (so not ready!).
Your lovely paintings though are very sweet indeed and have mee feeling okay with the fact that autumn has begun, they're a great reminder of the bounty and beauty of the season!
Having a slow start returning to blogging after being gone so long...maybe Autumn's moodiness is playing around with me!
xo J~

unifiedspace said...

What a great post and very thought provoking. I am very seasonally aware and I know exactly what you mean about it being bitter sweet. I adore bramble picking, juicing beetroots, pan frying venison and collecting rose hips and of course they are all such rich warm colours. I also enjoy layering up jumpers and tugging on my boots but I do feel sad to know that lying around on the grass is over for this year. Your photos are lovely - I must pop over to see your art work now. Thanks for that lovely post.

Isabel De Yzaguirre. said...

Beautiful writing and beautiful paints of yours, Elizabeth! Maybe you visited my blog and left kind words? This took me here and I'm glad I did.

Autumn doesn't look much like autumn here this year, but when cold comes, it's hard, and brings wintery fogs. Last winter was a very long one, so I prepare to be comfortable at home. And I try to keep busy with my love of color, wich saves me from bitterness.