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  Arts & Living
Autumn's Festival of Colors
By Carlton U. Forbes
Staff Writer & Columnist
Autumnal beauty of Daedunsan or Mt. Daedun in Wanju-gu, South Jeolla Province, South Korea

As I look around, I can see signs of autumn everywhere. For the annual festival of colors is in full swing once again. As this years' leafage exhibition gets under way, the hilly landscape is being splattered with nature's multicolored mosaics.

No doubt, most Koreans have already felt the effects of the changing weather patterns, seen the glow of the harvest moon, and rearranged their wardrobes to match the cooler temperatures.

As I write, the nearby hills and mountainsides around Daejeon are beginning to take on new hues. Which means, the annual exhibition of autumn's radiance is in full swing. So most trees and shrubs are taking on a glossy glow, adding color and luster to our picturesque surrounding.

For this reason, hoards of tourist and passersby are finding it hard to resist stopping at one of the roadside scenic spots for snapshot sessions. After all, fall's fiesta will not last long. So they are seizing the opportunity to get an eyeful of nature's stunning spectacle.

It seems autumn is the season when Mother Nature makes a big deal over death. How? Well, by embracing the proverbial principle: "there's a time to be born and a time to die." This is undoubtedly natures' biggest send-off bash of the year. The most opportune time for the leaves to perform the grand finale on the stage of life as they prepare for fate's finis — the graceful decent to the ground from whence they came.

This is probably the only time of year when death is glorified in the plant kingdom; the season when flora's finale ends in a requiem mass. Throughout the year, the dormant pigments in the leaves stay inactive until the earth looms towards its cyclical tilt. But as the daylight hours shorten as harvest grains ripen, these pigments emerge in grand fashion. To the leaves, these are telling signs that the time is right to don their funeral garb and show off their eye-catching shades.

Just a few weeks ago, all the trees were verdant and lush, with the hills and valleys covered with greenery. But now, after months of reaching out to the sun, snatching its life giving energy, and converting it into nutrients for their hosts, the partnership is coming to an end. Fall is also the time of year when most trees implement their streamlining measures in order to increase their chances of surviving the upcoming winter. So this is Mother Nature's way of orchestrating a fabulous adieus to the leafy appendages.

As I look around this peninsular land of ours, I can see the fall foliage taking part in the annual pageantry, with the yellowing of the ginkgo leaves, the citrine tinge of the plane trees and the crimson tint of the dan Poong (Japanese Maple). Although this autumnal hoopla is a seasonal affair, still, it has all the finesse and flair of a picturesque parade. Granted, fall may not be the most colorful time of year; but it is certainly one of the most eye-catching. No other seasonal event can match this spectacular festival of colors.

The writer, Carlton U. Forbes, is an English teacher living in Daejeon, South Chungcheong Province.

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Carlton U. Forbes, who serves as staff writer & columnist for The Seoul Times, currently teaches Global English at Dongyang University in S. Korea's Yeongju City. Among the books he authored are "A Few Choice Words" and "ESL Teaching Aids." A resident of S. Korea for over a decade Prof. Forbes can be reached at






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