Something like fall has finally arrived on our neighborhood streets. The trees are debating whether they agree with this fact and are undecided about dropping their leaves. My fig tree and the pecans have already carpeted the lawn and terrace with their summer clothing, the red oaks are still waiting for their cue on the arboreal striptease stage.

With the shade diminishing the unfiltered, dramatic, raking light of fall becomes more evident. The lower angle of the sun seems to create sharper contrast between light and shadow, crisper, more defined edges in the chiaroscuro scene that’s framed by bare branches.

The effect of the descending sun is dramatic in the dining room, radiating below the half drawn shades and making the lace curtains blaze with the fire-light of sunset. These windows are my observatory where I chart the arc of Phaeton through the seasons.

On the porches the setting sun probes the soffits, illuminating what was all in shade for the summer, as if a spotlight was being deliberately aimed upward.

The summer’s shield of giant bamboo and trees to the west is losing its welcome function as the sun moves to the south, blinding a sunset watcher’s gaze on the back porch...


I’ll hate going to work in the dark and coming home in the same gloom. Winter is not my favorite season, even in as mild a place as San Antonio. I don’t like being reminded of its inexorable approach by fluttering leaves, the whispered announcement of Pluto’s reclamation of the world for the season.

The twittering tree canopies are becoming more silent with the departures of summer’s avian guests. The lack of their songs makes me more conscious of breathy rustle of leaves bidding goodbye before they too depart.

The sharpness of the light seems to come from a more focused lens. It may be that thoughts are more focused in the fall too, it’s a season that seems to demand reflection since there is no soft foliage to hide from the probing brightness. What corner of our lives is not illuminated?

That acuity, the crystalline quality of daylight, may be our parting gift from the sun. It is as if it is an apology for the grayer days to come, and a reminder of the last warmth of our very long summers. You can feel this as the rays rotate over the horizon, leaving their heat on your shoulders as your feet and legs begin to feel the pooling chill of evening.

Finally, everything takes on the bluer hues of dusk. There’s a pungent aroma in the air; one of the neighbors is building a fire. - Michael Guarino