Bring Fall Inside
Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.
– Gary Snyder
Lately I feel I am living in a painting. As I write, I find myself staring out the window transfixed by my own front yard. It seems fall days are splurging as November nights grow darker. I see radiant color, lush textures, and uncommon shapes with changing edges.
Last Sunday I couldn’t help myself. I had to bring fall inside. I needed nature’s seasonal parade to enhance my home and heal my soul as nothing else can. And so, with my trusty faded red scissors, I ventured through the front door and up the stone pathway looking for evidence of the change of seasons.
I was not disappointed. The two pittosporum trees on my right were splashed with hundreds of fat orange berries. The flower bed near the front door blazed with tiny amber and crimson colored flowers shaped like stars. And at the top of the driveway, branches laced with small red berries hung over the fence surrounded by broad green leaves ten times their size. Yet remarkably long brilliant lime green pointed ferns still stood in clusters sticking out in all directions by my office window. I was thrilled.
I gently cut several handfuls of treasures and laid them on the dining room table. I was careful to leave many berries and flowers intact outside, bringing only a prudent amount inside. Then one by one I started to embellish my old friends – objects I had fallen in love with over the years in my travels, at art and craft galleries, in antique stores or had purchased from talented craftsmen and women I had worked with.
I started with the entry table where I embellished the Han Dynasty bronze horse and rider bought at an Asian antique store. I hung yellow and orange strands of marigolds around the horse’s neck and bedecked his head and chest with gold Blood Flowers from the front yard which suited his frisky mood.
Next, I placed clusters of red and yellow berries in the Puppeteer’s massive hand that lay on the black piano in the living room to give him a holiday flair. I had purchased this sculpture by California artist Gary Dinnen from a craft gallery in San Francisco. The piece is outrageous. I adore it and the berries!
From there I filled an old green iron urn with soft bronze-colored mums I found at the Farmers Market. I enriched the mums with big red Boston Ivy leaves coupled with strands of tiny emerald green English Ivy. This gilded fall arrangement seems to enrich the artwork above by Russian artist Irina Korsakova. I found the painting in a Carmel art gallery for a client who decided not to purchase it, leaving the opportunity for my husband and me to buy it. Years later we still love it.
In the dining room are several beautiful Buddhas from Burma and Laos. Being spiritual icons, I went all out. I adorned their necks with fresh orange and gold marigolds and placed branches of new bittersweet at their feet. The shape and texture of the brilliant green Asparagus Fern coupled with shiny apricot-colored persimmons brings touches of elegance to the sacred statues. As the autumn days grow shorter I will light candles to illuminate their faces.
The three green, gold, and orange heirloom pumpkins, set against a backdrop of yellow mums, bring new life to the family room. They keep company with that rascal Picasso on top of an old Irish chest. I love the shapes and colors of the pumpkins and their brilliant contrast to the artbook.
Finally – what to do with the niche above the family room fireplace where an antique statue I found in New Orleans lives. I garnished him with radiant green leaves, crimson-colored Boston Ivy and persimmon-toned berries from the trees in the front yard. It makes me happy when the sun streams in to light up the statue’s face and the colors around him.
I hope you will consider adding some holiday sparkle to your home by embellishing it with nature. Look in your own front and back yards for this season’s treasures you can use to enhance objects you love and give them a holiday spirit. Adding natures shapes, colors, textures and patterns inside your home often smells good, is life enhancing and soothing to the soul.
Pick what will last and replace what doesn’t. Farmers markets, farm stands, and grocery stores have unripe persimmons, pomegranates and pumpkins of all shapes and sizes this time of year. They can retain their color and firmness for weeks and even months. Fresh wreaths made from magnolia, eucalyptus and an array of colorful fall leaves will dry and last for years if gently cared for and stored. Bittersweet branches and marigolds also dry and will last for years. I keep both on my altars year-round.
Nature is the ultimate master of beauty and should be honored and revered. Remember to stop as you go through the hectic holidays and notice what’s around you. The more you see and acknowledge the beauty outside, the more the beauty inside you will grow and flourish.
In color, light and beauty,