Can’t Help ‘Falling’ in Love with Autumn in Germany

Auf Deutsch lesen

Autumn in Germany is a beautiful fiesta of sepia, orange, and ocher yellow. The autumn leaves carpet the ground wherever you go during the season that is called Herbst in German.

Autumn doesn’t bring golden warmth like summer
Nor the frosty chills of winter or the blooming bouquets of spring.
What it does offer, are gifts of sepia leaves
And we are happiest to receive those.

An autumn leaf upon the ground in Bonn, Germany
An autumn leaf upon the ground in Bonn, Germany

Living in Mumbai, there are two things you never experience – snow, and autumn. On our trips to Manali, Himachal Pradesh, and Jungfrau, Switzerland, we did enjoy our fair share of the former. But it is only now, in the heart of Europe, that we have been fortunate enough to soak in the mellow magic of autumn.

Enjoying a stroll in autumn
Enjoying a stroll in autumn

In Germany, autumn or herbst, as it is known in the local tongue, lasts from September to November, but it is only in October that the streets begin to be carpeted with fallen leaves. When the wind blows, be it a gentle breeze or a tumultuous one, the trees shower their mature friends upon the ground. And suddenly, all those poems and metaphors likening seasons to human life become so clear.

A dual-hued autumn leaf
A dual-hued autumn leaf

You see, spring with all its freshness and blooms, is like the innocence of youth. Sultry summer symbolizes the full blast of adulthood, while autumn signifies aging and maturity. Winter of course, is when the curtains must fall. And since the beginning of time, poets have eulogized spring and bemoaned the austerities of snow. But the sensitive ones knew that autumn is the sweetest and tenderest of all the seasons. Here are some autumn quotes we love:

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. – Albert Camus

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting, and autumn a mosaic of them all. – Stanley Horowitz

No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face. – John Donne

The heart of autumn must have broken here, and poured its treasure upon the leaves. – Charlotte Bates

I can smell autumn dancing in the breeze. The sweet chill of pumpkin, and crisp sunburnt leaves. – Ann Drake

A fallen leaf is nothing more than a summer’s wave goodbye. – Unknown

Anyone who thinks fallen leaves are dead has never watched them dancing on a windy day. – Shira Tamir

Autumn at Eifel National Park, Germany
Autumn at Eifel National Park, Germany

In some ways, autumn is as colourful as spring and summer. The commonest fall leaves are cinnamon white oaks. But take a stroll through the lanes of Bonn, and you’ll see many more. Ash and beech leaves are dyed golden, while common oaks and sycamore leaves are drenched in orange. And how can we forget the dual-hued horse chestnuts and red oaks? But our favourites are the red maples and sweet gum trees, which are almost crimson.  Here is a wonderful chart depicting all the autumn leaves with their myriad names, colours, and shapes.

Enjoying autumn in Germany
Wir lieben den Herbst!

The sound of leaves crunching beneath our feet as we take a stroll in the park, the beauty of shedding trees in a lilting zephyr, and the joy of throwing the dried leaves up in the air like children, have come to enshrine autumn in a special place in our hearts. Sometimes it’s so hard deciding between the sky and the earth because in both cases, there is so much loveliness to be seen. For us, autumn has been a welcome shift from the crowds and heat of the summer. And we’ll hold on to November with all our hearts, for the autumnal air doth sweeten the birdsong and the chiming of the church bells.

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