The Colors of Fall

Updated: Oct 18, 2019

by Tommy Vogel


It’s easy to love the fall. After all, it is a beautiful time of year. It’s the season of pumpkin spice and apple cider. Fall is the season of Halloween and Thanksgiving. It’s the season when lights go up and the leaves start to change their colors. These closing months of the year are a time of joy for so many people. Yet this is the time of year I find the most frustrating. Inevitably, someone will always look outside and point, saying “Look at the leaves! They’re so beautiful!” But no matter how many times I look, I’ll never know what they’re talking about.

"The amount of mortification people take on is like they’ve just offered a hard cider to a recovering alcoholic."

Whenever I look at the trees of autumn, all I see are brown, dying trees. I can’t see the subtle, nuanced changes in the leaves. So every year when somebody asks me what I think of all the beautiful colors of fall, I can’t help but to find it frustrating. I find it frustrating that there’s a thing of such beauty that year after year, people get excited about it, and I am excluded. I am excluded by my colorblindness.

Photo Credit: Kylyn Six

Colorblindness is an interesting condition. Whenever somebody finds out for the first time that I’m colorblind, they always pick something out and ask me what color that thing is. I’ve always been intrigued by this. When you find out that somebody is blind, you don’t throw up a few fingers and ask how many you’re holding up. This behavior appears to be unique to colorblindness. But during the fall and early winter, people treat it a little differently. When people find out I’m colorblind when leaves are on the ground, there’s just panic and cries of “I’m so sorry!” The amount of mortification people take on is like they’ve just offered a hard cider to a recovering alcoholic. I hate that even more.


When people become so embarrassed about this very minor faux pas, I know that it comes from a place of pity. Pity that I can’t experience the beauty of fall. I hate this line of thinking, because fall is beautiful and not being able to see the colors of the leaves doesn’t change that in the slightest. There is beauty in so many things this time of year. There is beauty in the year’s first pumpkin spice latte. There is beauty in the innocence of costumed children asking for candy from perfect strangers. There is beauty in families coming together in celebration of the holidays. There is beauty in a slice of pumpkin pie with just the right amount of whipped cream. There is beauty in the first real breath of the fresh autumn air. So even if there’s some part that you can’t experience the way others do, it’s easy to find some part of fall to love.

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