Colors of Autumn

Fall is not only the best time of year, out of all four seasons but it’s also the most scenic and beautiful if you love being outdoors. It is a transition period between summer and winter when all the leaves from the trees and plants change into multi-colored works of art and fall away. It creates bare, and vulnerable branches, revealing the true scenery underneath and the weather can be warm and cool at the same time. It is the most comfortable weather for me. The winds are just right and the air is scented with falling leaves and earthy pumpkins and squash. I love the maple (Chinar) tree turn vividly in hues of muted yellows and reds. The sky is full of geese and clouds and the wind is a flutter with all that nature must do to prepare for winter. The dead leaves and branches on the ground disintegrate and turn into part of the soil, which are used as seeds and fertilizer later once the cold welcomes the warmer weather. It is in the human nature that every living organism has to fade one day after reaching it’s zenith and to that milieu autumn bears an unambiguous resemblance.
It also represents a beautiful cycle of loss, regeneration and regrowth once the spring season comes around. It’s a perfect time to change up your decorations, add orange, red and yellow colours and pull out the spice scented candles. A natural match up that makes autumn as one of my favourite time of the year. A season that fascinates me,that inspires me and that helps me to discover myself. A poetic season. A philosophical season.
In Kashmir, Autumn, also known as “Harud” in Kashmiri language and “Sharad” in Pahari. In Kashmir all the seasons are very apparent. The spring season is very lush green, the summer is hot, the winter very cold and the fall is full of magnificent colours. In Autumn entire valley is bathed in different hues of red, orange and gold during these months when misty mornings, pleasant nights, red-carpeted gardens and rustle of fallen leaves turn Kashmir into an enchanting place.
In the countryside of Kashmir, farmers return to their fields to harvest paddy and saffron and pick various varieties of apples for export. In the hilly areas, the maize crop and walnut trees are also maturing for the harvest.It’s also the perfect time to sit together in the evening with friends or family after a hard day of harvesting over a hot cup of “Kehwa” a famous Kashmiri brew mixed with cardamom’s , cinnamon’s and black pepper or “Nun Chai” our own traditional Kashmiri tea with home made maize or wheat rotis in the open rice fields and ultimately switching to some wisecracks.
Kashmir lives in the villages and along wetlands, where willow plantations abound, are familiar with the sound produced by cicadas. Autumn and singing of the cicada insects have always been synonymous in the vale. The golden-brown rice fields, streams bringing down crystal-clear water from the mountains, cicada insects “singing”: these are the indicators of the breath-taking beauty and grandeur of the autumn in Kashmir. A little nip in the mornings and evenings and the gentle warmth of the autumn sun are so refreshing. Children run around excitedly, trampling leaves and playing cricket under the shade of the mighty Chinar trees which goes vibrant with colours of red, golden yellow and combinations of both in this season. Towards the end of autumn in November, the chinar trees change their colour from green through crimson to yellow. It is a spellbinding spectacle that holds the viewer in awe.
The weather is just perfect with cooler temperatures rolling in, saying goodbye to summer and hello to fall is not a hard thing to do. It’s a great time to break out the jackets, coats, boots, scarves and hats in preparation for the change in season.This season is absolutely perfect for taking beautiful scenic photos and spending time outdoors. Nothing can relax and rejuvenate more than enjoying nature and the surrounding scenery.It’s also a great time to go for camping, fishing, go on a long drive through the poplar-lined boulevards or anything else where you can spend quality time with family, eat good food and give birth to some innumerable memories. Therefore a large number of tourists visit the valley before the weather becomes excruciatingly cold.
Fall brings back flood of beautiful memories and this is a season to be thankful, and to be surrounded by the people you love.To think over the past year, what you’ve been through, the memories you’ve made together and to look forward to a new and exciting year.Whichever way one looks at it, autumn is undoubtedly the king of all the seasons and it is indeed Kashmir’s golden season. An year’s last and loveliest smile.

Khan Ah Hilal
(The author lives in Keran Kupwara and works in the Revenue department).