The above video was prodused by Totoran Bogdan, a student in the the school where I worked in Petrosani, Colegiul Tehnic "Dimitrie Leonida". The pictures used in the film were taken by a former colleague and great friend Ioan Ilea Ernest.
It used to be done by raking leaves into a big pile next to a tree, climbing up in the tree, letting yourself go and enjoying that feeling of being in a cloud. Evidently we grow and that pile will no longer support our weight but we still manage to capture the magnificence of fall. Whether it be the bright colors popping out in the landscape, the crumbling of leaves under your feet (or rake), the taste in the air when the first cold separates the seasons, or one of the early games of the highly anticipated football season, fall is a season highly anticipated by many and at times seems all too short.
The Romanian fall of 2011 came like a slap in the face. Rain had totally held off in the two months leading up to the abrupt changing of the seasons, making a difficult living for the buretar (mushroom picker). Suddenly the weather changed from t-shirt to hoodie and beanie, and a couple days later clouds rolled and the rain began to fall. Unfortunately for the runners of Bucharest, the Bucharest International Marathon was scheduled for that first day of cold rain. Despite the gloomy weather I had to leave the apartment early that morning to catch the start of the race as it took place in the closest square, a two minute walk away. Seeing the runners warming up in their spandex get-ups and their skimpy shorts took me back to that one year, in eighth grade, when I captured the fall by running cross-country. The air in Bucharest had the same bite to it, the same taste as those cross-country meets. I remembered the warm-up exercises, the black Lifa beanie handed down from my older brother, and the skimpy shorts that we had to wear. Since those first few days of the 2011 fall I’ve been taking any chance that I can to appreciate the season, knowing that the leaves fall in the blink of an eye and that a cold, dark, but beautiful winter will soon descend on Romania.
In the past three years capturing fall for me has taken place through a camera lens. I’m no pro at taking pictures but I like to do it and it gives me one more excuse to get out and appreciate my surroundings regardless of the season. I was recently looking through the only pictures that were ever on my ipod, which consisted of pictures taken during my last fall in the states. They include some pretty rockin Halloween pictures of Jay and Silent Bob but also some fall shots of the finger-lakes region of New York. The colors on the surrounding hills created a scene that I thought I might have to give up for a couple of years while I’m abroad. It turns out that those beautiful fall colors were very present and even more vibrant in the region of Romania where I was placed. Walking through the Jiet Canyon or the Jiu Gorge the bright colors of fall surround you on all sides and at times seem to cover you. The best time to take shots is when you see those great colors with the perfect blue background of the sky on a clear sunny day. As that cool wind blows by your cheek you’re reminded of the beauty in the changing of the seasons, a feeling that can’t be captured by even the greatest camera lenses.
Living in the big city now, I knew that I would experience a different kind of fall season. Rather than beautiful rolling hills surrounding me every day, I have concrete blocks, streets, cars, and too many people to appreciate. Luckily for me I live in a pretty green city. There are still trees in between the blocks, beautiful parks, nice architecture and opportunities to get out and see the countryside. For a couple nice sunny weeks October and November the wind would blow leaves into my path while riding my bike to work in the morning. The major highlight of this fall was having the opportunity to join a dedicated group of environmental volunteers in planting more trees so that future generations can experience the joys that I have experienced in the past and will continue to experience in years to come.