When I was a child, I hated autumn. I saw no colors, only leaden skies, naked ground and continuous rain. And the ugliest thing ever was to see the green fern leaves turning brown.
Ferns are often called snake grass (“ormegras”) here in Norway, and are seen as similar to seaweed: A creepy plant that hides in shadow, and hides things in shadow (supposedly), and wraps around your legs as you try to move between them. I never had the loathing my Norwegian friends had, but I liked ferns only when they were lush and green. I hated how they looked when they started to turn into a brown-spotted mess in fall.
As an adult I have come to see and appreciate this time of year in a completely different way, and now autumn is my favorite season. I see the colors changing, I feel the air get crisper and easier to breathe, I enjoy seeing the stars return with the darker evenings, and I know now that the gray, soggy part is just November. Recently, I made a new discovery about fall.
When I took a walk about a month ago, I came across a clearing in the woods, completely covered in ferns. The ferns had already changed color to a breathtaking bronze. And that’s when it hit me: I love how ferns look this time of year. They are no longer ugly, but instead provide a rusty, lacy contrast to the solid greens still around them.