Autumn is in full vigor here in the San Bernardino Mountains. It is my favorite season, partly because its apex is the briefest. The leaves outside my window present a rich palette, but the rain predicted for later today and tomorrow may knock them all to the ground, leaving us to contemplate the coming of winter.
Perhaps that contemplation is the meaning of autumn: a time to draw inward and come to terms with inevitabilities. Mary Cassatt painted her beloved sister Lydia, whose health was failing. Lydia's cloak and bonnet bear the colors of the changing leaves and identify her with autumn. Her face, however, is clear, pale, delicate, beautiful, and deep in thought, thereby internalizing the true spirit of the season.
Autumn, by Mary Cassatt; 1880. Click on the picture for a closer look.