8/30/2010

Autumn Leaves

At the end of June in 2009, during the oppressive heat of an unusually hot summer in our part of Oregon, my wife and I packed up all of our things and gladly departed from our small apartment in a run-down building on East Burnside Street in Portland, moving to a newer and (we hoped) more habitable apartment in the nearby suburb of Beaverton. We had decided that, after five years of being surrounded by constant noise and endless concrete, we no longer wanted to reside in the unwholesome confines of the city.

Although Beaverton has all the usual drawbacks of convention and conformity to which most American suburbs are inescapably prone, it also has open skies, quiet streets, and an abundance of tall trees. In late October, when autumn is in full sway, the trees are particularly striking. Everywhere in the neighborhood, curtains of colorful leaves can be seen hanging from branches, offering an exhibition of seasonal beauty in red, gold, and yellow.

In my own case, the mundane action of moving from the city to the suburbs inspired a deeper awareness of my everyday surroundings. It enabled me to see more clearly what I might otherwise have taken for granted. In a world that is being taken over, brutally and quickly, by the malign power of heartless technology, a world in which our daily lives are blankly surrendered to the harshness and ugliness of rampant consumerism, the bold splendor of an autumn leaf is something to be treasured.