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      트위터 페이스북 미투데이 네이버 구글 msn  
Falling in Love with Autumn
2015년 11월 09일 (월) 09:50:55 GLOBE globe@jbnu.ac.kr

   
Southern California is arguably the best place in the world to live in terms of having beautiful sunny weather for most of the year. But as a California girl, I would have to say autumn is a season that I have recently come to appreciate only because I was not living in California during my first autumn abroad. Typically I am reminded of Thanksgiving back at home in sun drenched sunny Southern California (SoCal) where it is hard to see vibrant red and yellow colors in the trees. Living in Korea has led me to reflect on and ponder the changes in seasons. I would like to paint a picture for you, metaphorically, by telling about my American Thanksgiving holidays and how my image of autumn has changed over the years.

Thanksgiving is a holiday primarily celebrated in the United States and Canada. In the US it is held on the fourth Thursday of November, while it is on the second Monday of October in Canada. It is a public holiday in America and has its origins linked to the event where the Pilgrims thanked God with a celebration for a successful harvest. It is interesting to note that a similar harvest festival is celebrated in over 30 nations around the world.

My definition of Thanksgiving and image of autumn started forming as I was in elementary school. Every year we made crafts that related to a turkey or a writing assignment about giving thanks. We would also decorate pumpkins or even visit a pumpkin patch. All the kids loved going to the pumpkin patch because we were able to experience a semi-farm life that was created in our suburban town! There was hay, goats, and rows of pumpkins for kids to delight their senses with, but during this time my mind never gravitated toward the beauty of a tree’s leaves.

As I grew older, teachers focused less on crafts or pumpkins and more on the meaning of Thanksgiving, which is about families gathering around for a meal to spend quality time together. Year after year we reflected on what we were thankful for in our lives. Of course, like many, at the top of my list I always answered “my family and friends.” Again, not once did I ever think about nature or colorful leaves.

My first taste of a colorful autumn was when I moved to Fukushima, Japan to work. There were trees everywhere! There were trees covering the mountains, trees lining the streets, and even highways too! I know what you’re thinking. Had she never seen a tree before? Well, I was not used to seeing greenery all around me. It was breath taking at times. Taking the train through my city showed me a colorful nature world that opened my mind to thinking more about nature. Being able to see the oranges, browns, and reds kept my eyes alive. I truly fell in love with nature.

Don’t get me wrong. Many people could only dream of living in a place that doesn’t experience typhoons, heavy rainy seasons, or snow. SoCal is a beautiful place known for its beaches. In fact my home there is 25 minutes from the beach! However, since SoCal doesn’t experience the 4 seasons like Japan or Korea, many Southern Californians miss out on such a delight.

Flash forward to my life in South Korea and again I have the opportunity and delight to witness the autumn leaves. The CBNU campus has an array of trees and is spectacular when all the leaves turn red. I remember so many times on campus last year when I just had to stop where I was and had to admire such a scene! In my life, it is still something I am not used to.

Thinking more about how awesome Mother Nature is, I am astounded by the self-sustaining character of Mother Nature. No one has to constantly train the birds to sing or the animals to prepare for the cold nights ahead. It is amazing how not just many insects, bugs, and animals but also many trees need to prepare to survive the winter! Yes! Actually, as the amount of daylight gets shorter in a day in autumn, the green chlorophyll stops being produced and many leaves get ready to fall off for the winter. As this happens, we can see orange, yellow, and red colors. It is truly an amazing process.

In Japan there is an event called Hanami, which translates to “flower viewing.” I always thought that you were supposed to just stare at the flowers and enjoy the company of friends under the Sakura trees in spring. However, after asking my Japanese friends and experiencing Hanami, I found out that not much time was spent at looking at the Sakura during this event. I was a little surprised, but understand that people sometimes forget what they have until it is gone.

There might not be a specific autumn event centered on looking at the changing colors of the leaves, but I do think it is timely as Thanksgiving is celebrated in fall. Fall is the season that opened up my eyes to nature more than seeing the flowers bloom in spring! Before when I was asked what my favorite season was, I would say summer because of the nice hot and fairly dry summer days in SoCal. Now, I would definitely have to answer autumn mainly because I will always remember the colors of autumn. And if asked what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving I would still say my family and friends, but I would also have to include the autumn leaves. I am thankful, this season, for another chance to live in a place that is surrounded by trees. The CBNU campus would actually be a recommendation for seeing nature and I am also thankful to work at a beautiful place.

I look forward to this autumn season and hope to explore different areas of Korea to view the changing colors of the leaves. I hope you all are able to reflect on what you are thankful for as well. We don’t know if climate change will affect our images of the four seasons in the future, so we must not take it for granted and be thankful throughout the fall season.

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