It’s September 21, 2012, the first official day of autumn. Recently I was concurring with an English pen pal that with the onset of fall, a melancholy is often left in its wake – that even with all the delights offered by the poetry of this glorious season, in tandem lingers a mild saddening. Bittersweet was the word that came to mind. No sooner had the word flowed from my pen, I was off to the dictionary to look up its origins.

Well, there’s a plant called Bittersweet, Celastrus Orbiculatis, but why its oxymoronic name? It’s named after its roots which are said to taste bitter, then sweet when chewed. I then continued to learn that bittersweet is also a name of a deep, dark to reddish orange color. Its seminal beginnings come from well, duh… the seed... its color that is.

All the more reason to refer to autumn as “bittersweet.”!
But what about autumn’s cohort, moodiness? Could it be the darkening days, the donning of sweaters, the plaintiff early morning cries of the foghorn? All these herald the next season we know is in the store…winter. But before winter overtakes us, creeping in, even under the door, turning us all into a pile of frozen bones, nature takes her one last hurrah, color abounds and the entire region is awash in bittersweet.  From spawning salmon in the Pacific Northwest creeks,

to breathtaking foliage at every turn, 

Photo by Elizabeth Brown

we revel in this riot of color.
Is it not a coincidence that the bittersweet’s complement on the color wheel is blue, melancholy’s cloak?

We must have both, the warm and the cool to be complete. This goes for an architectural color palette as well as for nature’s tableau.
So get out, this fall, take a bittersweet walk,
Savor the bittersweet harvest,

And count your lucky stars that your bittersweet senses are in full tilt. 
Elizabeth Brown  206-353-0454

Original post at Colorific.

Leave a comment!

You must be logged in to post a comment.