This is magical:

Autumn magic in California; Castle Crags State Park

A log to sit on and contemplate the changing season, a place to breathe deep and exhale exultant.

The clean air and sweet light of autumn is a tonic for the noise that surrounds too much of life these days.  I won’t pretend to know what quiets your anxieties but I know sitting in a meadow will always make me feel refreshed.

Autumn meadow in California; Castle Crags State Park

This is the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in Northern California, at Castle Crags State Park, an exit of Interstate Highway 5 as I headed to Oregon.  A few miles down an easy road brings the traveler to a different world once the car engine is turned off to accept the beauty.

Oregon Ash trees in blazing color occupy any opening in the evergreen woods.

Fraxinux latifolia, Oregon Ash tree in fall color; Autumn in California; Castle Crags State Park

And along Castle Creek the Aspen trees glow yellow, the shallow water shining silver in the low sunlight after dawn.

Castle Creek seen through glowing poplar trees; autumn in California; Shasta-Trinity National Forest

A colorful fall foliage tapestry that is unexpected in California, but not uncommon if one takes the time get away to the mountains.

Castle Creek seen through trees; autumn tapestry in California

The creek provides an opening to view the woods as a complex pattern of color and texture framed by trees.  Studying scenes like this with a camera provides an opportunity to make sense of the world.  Beauty exists whether we see it or not.

A quiet autumn day in the quiet woods quiets the soul.

Small details too, ferns along the forest floor, contribute to the unfolding seasonal change.

Fall foliage, ferns and maples in a California forest opening.

The forest road continues past the meadows and climbs over the mountains.  At a clearing the early morning light makes the trees glow.

Conifer trees at sunrise Castle Crags State Park

While this seems to be the epitome of eternal beauty, it is fragile. Only a few miles away, the largest forest fire in California history, the Delta fire, was put out a month ago, leaving the hills toasted.

Burned forest hillside, Delta Fire aftermath; Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California

Get out and enjoy the natural world whenever you can.  It is precious.