Autumn Sonata

Creative Writing | Poetry


EVERY autumn, Mom enjoyed seeing the vibrant green leaves turn to rust, brown, and red.

During my childhood, we spent many fall days sitting in the backyard of our house. Shivering in the damp air, I winced at the tepid odor of turpentine, while watching her paint. I listened closely as she taught me how to mix colors; add texture and depth to her subjects on canvas.

With her face fixed with intensity, she brought life to leafless oak trees, their bony branches swaying in the light wind. The rose bushes, having shed their last bounty months ago, appeared unlikely to withstand the punishment from the cruel winter ahead.

I’ll never forget the sacrifices she made for me. Or the time I ‘played’ artist and added some strokes of my own to one of her paintings. I was nine years old and she never scolded me.

During those years I must have told her about a million times, “Mom, when I grow up, I want to be painter just like you.”

“Honey,” she replied, “but you write great stories. Maybe you’ll get them published some day.”

Today, her pieces decorate my living room and library. ‘Colonial Woman With A Red Bow’ is my favorite painting.

With one look at her work, I’m brought back to those brisk, autumn days in the backyard of my childhood home. I remember her soft auburn curls blowing in the breeze and her steady hand as she painted.

Photograph by Nicholas Matich