I think of the blushing fireweed, the deep indigo of the aster and the brilliant goldenrod, a regal forest mantum in praise of the late summer Sun, alongside the soft white turtlehead and the creams of the wild carrot. We find these colours again in congress in forests and along rivers and trails in the wood sorel, milkweed, daisy, and in the fading chicory.
The birch and sugar maple, the aspen, hornbeam and hickory have not yet hinted at their golden crowns, but do you not feel something about them now is different? Do you not also see that their stand beneath the Sun cries for some greater and more sublime light, and that the forests themselves seem to reflect something back into the sky? Some procession makes its way to us now, and it would seem to me that all the truth and melancholy of autumn is born from the cream and violet and butter of the late summer flowers that gather around the trees.
These colours, the whites and yellows and purples, surely chant a secret hymn — and does the Sun not also seem to accompany their chorus?
It is a curious thing that the Sun is a different being no matter how far we travel from home, having little to do with a mere equatorial relation — and yet I have also found that the late summer light shines consummate and profound no matter where we go, as though it came from elsewhere, as though the light shone from within just as it shines from without.
The colours of the late summer speak to this luminous truth, for in the very early mornings and evenings, the azure and lapis of the sky descends as though it were preserved in amber light, where suddenly the leaves admit a dusty and natural turquoise, and even the pine wears a sheer sapphire veil as if it were preparing to mourn. Does the sky then not seem to reflect the late summer flowers themselves, appearing to us like a raw amethyst suspended in the morning light?
So it has seemed to me.
In my life, I have so often swam beneath the late summer twilight and watched as the fireflies on the shore of the lake lit a strange nightshade dark with a lime so pale it seemed like a flower reflecting moonlight. In some years, on some special days, I could even think that these flowers came closest to the colour of the stars.
Near salt water in late summer, the apricot and mauve, ruby, coral, cornflower, and indigo of the sunset, all of it seemed to me reflected as if by an emerald suspended in the centre of the sky. And it was clear that the murres and geese, eiders, sandpipers, and gulls also witnessed this holy sky, casting themselves into it with a wild and unfathomed joy.
For a just moment, I could imagine myself reflected there too, cast throughout the great ringing soul of the late summer, as if I had waited all this time to see the spring from which I rose.