Gongol.com Archives: October 2023

Brian Gongol

October 21, 2023

Iowa Fall leaves are good for the soul

Few sights compare with an Iowa river valley full of trees in the peak of fall color. In contrast with the brown of winter and the endless green of spring and summer, the brief blast of colors is a feast for the eyes. ■ Lots of other places enjoy the brilliance of autumnal colors, too -- New Englanders take pride in their leaf peeping -- but Iowa has an advantage in its generally flat terrain and gently rolling hills, which mean that virtually anywhere a person stands in the entire state, they're within walking distance of a hill from which they can see about ten miles in any direction, and be guaranteed a colorful view of trees along a river or creek in practically every direction. No special trips to the mountains required: The ubiquity of the experience is hard to beat. ■ For anyone who has the pleasure of seeing a grand autumn landscape finished in bright colors, the temptation is almost irresistible to take photographs contrasting the leaves against a clear blue sky. But it's also worthwhile to indulge in the experience purely with the naked eye, and to appreciate fully how fleeting the experience really is. ■ We are sometimes told that process is more important than product when it comes to art, and there's a reason "paint and sip" events have proliferated like bunnies. So it is for nature's gift of fall colors: There are a million stunning photographs of fall foliage to be found, but none of them have the effect of actually seeing the colors in person on a crisp day. ■ The knowledge that the moment is fleeting by definition, and that the atmosphere must be enjoyed before it is gone, is good for the psyche. The moment, and the experience, are greater reward than any photograph.

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