A rarely seen portrait that captured Eastern Canada in autumn at the start of World War I: Frederick Varley, Indian Summer (1914-1915).
Welcome the Autumnal Equinox - and Vernal Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere! This is the day when the number of hours of light and dark - 12 to 12 - are roughly equal. In Eastern Canada, it is perhaps the nicest time of year.
Two paintings here show Canada and America in the same season, within a generation of one another. The aesthetic difference between the two cultures is immediately obvious. There is a subtle difference of stance and attitude here - two kinds of New World independence. Unfortunately, I cannot find a high resolution image of the painting by the renowned Canadian artist Fred Varley (1881-1969), which is kept in a private collection. This online reproduction has a stipple effect, but you can still see how Varley captured the glow of autumnal sunlight and brilliant blue skies peeking through the birch trees.
The painting below by the American artist Winslow Homer (1836-1910) was featured on the Norton Anthology of American Literature (3rd ed. shorter, 1989). It is such an arresting painting - such independent pride!
Winslow Homer, Autumn 1877.
An Autumn Evening, by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Dark hills against a hollow crocus sky
Scarfed with its crimson pennons, and below
The dome of sunset long, hushed valleys lie
Cradling the twilight, where the lone winds blow
And wake among the harps of leafless trees
Fantastic runes and mournful melodies.
The chilly purple air is threaded through
With silver from the rising moon afar,
And from a gulf of clear, unfathomed blue
In the southwest glimmers a great gold star
Above the darkening druid glens of fir
Where beckoning boughs and elfin voices stir.
And so I wander through the shadows still,
And look and listen with a rapt delight,
Pausing again and yet again at will
To drink the elusive beauty of the night,
Until my soul is filled, as some deep cup,
That with divine enchantment is brimmed up.