Oftentimes, the world focuses on two things: the beginning and the end. The middle is overlooked—it’s just how humans perceive the world. In nature, metamorphosis happens almost constantly, and we all know what a caterpillar is, and how beautiful butterflies can be, but how often does the world stop in between and admire the chrysalis? In showbusiness, theatre especially, the opening and closing acts are often the most grandiose, catching and retaining their audience like moths to a flame. The bright colors of autumn are associated with beauty but is just nature’s indication that it’s transitioning to a cold season—one of bare trees, chilling winds, and pure-white snow. Autumn is nature’s transition to cold, but that cold winter season is merely nature’s transition to spring, where life begins to bloom and flourish. The cycle of seasons, autumn, then winter, then spring, then summer, repeats endlessly, coming and going as quickly as they came, then just like that, a year passed. By pausing and looking at those middle gaps between seasons in nature, the captured portrait can unveil unexpected stories and images that are as beautiful as the beginning and end.

As the man in the background stops, he looks up. Not twenty minutes ago, he was presented with a choice. She wasn’t special. At least, she wasn’t yet. Just full of life—one thing led to another, and she said that word, and it singed into his brain. The ‘L’ word. A pin could be heard hitting the floor in the devoid subconscious of a man who’s been hurt one too many times before. He heard ‘love,’ and recalled the last time he said that word, in tears, angry at himself and the world, and nothing was right, and she shouldn’t have done that, and she promised to be the one. A chilling fog hangs low, prompting the hair follicles on his arms to stand straight up. It’s getting cold outside, and the leaves on the branches of the deciduous trees are beginning to show signs of death. It may be a sign that autumn seems to always be the time where the human brain most desperately wants to be grounded in a relationship. Our minds want to find happiness in winter, where the serotonin we would usually get from the sunlight is snuffed away by cold, gloomy nights. Does the cycle of love and hurt never end? Do these so-called feelings justify the inevitable pain and heartbreak that’s so soon to come? The man stops and looks up. It’s not autumn just yet. Life in the world hasn’t been snuffed out, not just yet.

Orange, brown, red, and yellows corrupt green, the color of life, as mother nature begins to love the world once again. The cyclical seasons are almost cruel, where there’s summer, there will be winter. Life and death follow each other like a dog chasing his own tail. Mother nature loves the world but snuffs out the light like clockwork. Like it or not, that is reality. Why does autumn exist when nature is going to die so soon? Why do the bright colors fill the tree-lined path when their own destination is surely their own demise? Autumn is like love itself. A cyclical being, bright colors, and good times. The end of love might be pain or gloom. Your own sunlight might feel snuffed in the end, but a last hurrah is something we make the most out of, no matter what.

To this, the answer to the questions surface for the man. With good comes bad, with summer comes winter, and with love comes resentment. It’s inevitable, so why fight it? The vibrant colors of nature are expressed in autumn, in between the ‘good’ and the ‘bad,’ but nature doesn’t resist. Nature doesn’t try to stop the cold gloomy days from happening, nature makes the most out of it. Autumn is the beauty in between and is nature’s annual spectacular last stand for the world to admire. Love is the beauty in human nature and coming to terms with all aspects of love is what allows it to continue to exist. The man looks up, but this time, with a smile on his face, he begins to walk again.

Thor Long