Journey Towards the Last Days of Autumn

In this post I’m featuring new images taken in the last month that contain references to nature’s golden and metallic hues, and combining them with visual associations photographed in previous Novembers. The journey starts locally, just up the road to me. A pile of golden fallen leaves is juxtaposed with a rolled up Persian rug outside Kasra Carpets on Highgate Road, late October 2020:

Three miles away in Regents Park a teenage girl throws bright yellow leaves into the air for her friends capture on their phones and presumably post on social media:

This reminded me of a scene I witnessed five years ago in Kyoto, Japan. A little boy is being filmed by his mother as he tosses copper-coloured leaves, a couple of which land on him:

Individual fallen leaves land on a covered car in Dartmouth Park. To me this scene also a suggests a still life – and is somewhat surreal. One of my friends described the vehicle as being shrouded; I like that description:

I remember encountering the surreal juxtaposition below on my way to choir practice in Tufnell Park – it was nine years ago. But with coronavirus and the mass panic-buying of toilet paper leaving supermarket shelves empty and out of stock, encountering a pristine loo roll on the street now takes on new meaning!:

Next a series of abstract photographs. A pavement on the outskirts of Regents Park displays a transient still life with fallen leaves and bronze metallic spray paint graffiti:

The painterly image of copper-toned leaves below, seen through a window layered with decaying plant matter, was taken in Kew Gardens in 2018:

Geometry and urban nature – looking up at the roof of a bus shelter near Parliament Hill a few days ago, during the ongoing second London lockdown:

A lone leaf attached to a billboard in Highgate Road:

A lone leaf against weathered steel in Kew Gardens:

Below, a couple of images featuring water and autumn leaves. Firstly from 2011 in the outskirts of London, a composition with floating leaves and a folded torn poster; the illustration suggests an Indian deity:

And one from Hampstead Heath a couple of weeks ago, a quasi-monochromatic image except for a few yellow-hued leaves on the left hand side. Reflected branches in a pond create intricate abstract formations:

Since the first London lockdown back in March 2020 I’ve been practicing socially distanced qigong with members of Metta Tai Chi on Hampstead Heath. The location varies and recently the sessions have taken place in a wooded area where some of the practitioners have created a sacred mandala filled with burnished leaves as the centrepiece of the dojo (place of practice). In Qigong practice there is a theory called the five elements, and the element associated with autumn happens to be metal:

Raking leaves:

One of the regulars is Dorothea, seen below seated in her mobility scooter. I asked if I could take her picture as I was transfixed by her yellow coat against the golden leaves. She told me she had kept that coat for many decades and used to wear it when she was a horse rider:

This was my view during a recent qigong session on the Heath. I like the dramatic contrast of the being in the shaded dark woods with its blackened linear branches and seeing the luminous, fiery trees beyond:

Staying on Hampstead Heath here’s a section of a tree that has been turned into a sculpture – an abundance of cubes have been formed out of the top of the trunk. I first noticed this tree in late summer but this is a recent image. Looking up from below, the tree sculpture is framed with a backdrop of sunlit leaves:

At Regents Park colourful landscaped centrepiece – a stone bowl upheld by four winged lions entitled the Griffin Tazza – is encircled by fallen golden leaves:

A textured, crumbling wall revealing old brickwork and partially covered in creeping autumn leaves, aerial roots and electrical cables contains a religious shrine. Seen in the Dorsoduro area of Venice, November 2019:

In this image, the monument and late autumn tree seem almost intertwined. Photographed in Paris, November 2013:

The journey ends with a detail of a statue seen in Porto, Portugal in November 2018. I was drawn to the woman’s bare foot, edged in fallen, copper leaves. I imagine her as a dancer, treading lightly in the last days of autumn, careful not to crush the nature underfoot:

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