Saturday, October 22, 2016

One Drop of New England

     I often extol the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and they deserve it. This area of Virginia is beautiful in all seasons. But, when it comes to autumn, a season I eagerly await, I can't help but be slightly let down when it comes to foliage color. I was raised in the northeast and for forty years New England's fall foliage was impressed into my brain. Some autumns were more colorful than others, but I distinctly recall a few that were so brilliant and colorful that I will never forget. The Adirondack Mountains, the Vermont towns, and our own New York interstate highways would often be awash in color so bright, it was blazing. Folks celebrated that color with festivals and wreaths! We pressed colorful leaves between wax paper and imitated the color with construction paper leaves on school bulletin boards. Children would construct leaf people and we would pick bouquets of leaves up off the ground, scampering to find one leaf more brilliant in color than the previous. And what young couples haven't walked hand in hand through the fallen leaves, kicking them up as they strolled through a park or neighborhood?
     After pleasing folks with a colorful landscape for two or three weeks, there would come a day in October when all the leaves would drop. Mountains of colorful leaves poured down onto the green grass. Depending on the weather, they sometimes floated gently down over days. Other times, they blew down furiously in the wind. Once in a while they just seemed to dump onto the ground overnight. No matter how they fell, they brought joy to any child, young or old, who chose to rake and pile them up for play. Sometimes we would make piles so high that we needed to stand on a picnic table to jump down into them. We came out smelling musty and earthy, just like the leaves. Pieces of leaves would often find their way into our clothing and fall out onto the bathroom floor when we undressed. In those years when we lived near the apple orchards, the sweet tang of apples would mingle in the cold air with that of the decaying leaves and scented the air with a most wonderful aroma.
     With respect to our Virginia, she has given us some very pretty autumns. She grows a different variety of trees than New England and I cant fault her for that. Her beautiful oaks turn brown, and the black walnut and hickories turn yellow. The eastern white pine and cedar will remain green and the hornbeam and chestnuts also remain rather dull, I think. There are many varieties I am not familiar with, but I do know the sugar maple and I think that is what is missing here for its brilliant colors of reds and oranges. What Fincastle will give us is the smell of fallen leaves on Halloween night, if we choose to walk around town that evening. The dogwoods are a beautiful, dark burgundy color and Ikenberrys smells wonderful with their bins of apples. But, my biggest joy each autumn comes from one of our four maple trees. No matter what type of autumn we have, bright or dull, this one little tree produces the most spectacular color for us. These photos were all taken today and show the countryside around our house. It's beautiful with or without colorful leaves, but as you can see, our maple tree stands out and reminds me, just a little bit, of what a New England autumn looks like.
      Take a peek at "For the Love of a House" to see what the color looks like in New Hampshire this week.

The wind was kicking up and it blew fiercely all night long after this photo was taken. Daylight will reveal how the leaves held on.


  1. I love your drop of New England. Fall was beautiful here, this year. I wasn't expecting it to be after such a dry summer - but what do I know? Enjoy the beauty of your vivid tree!

  2. I love the description of the autumn in New England. And your maple tree is a bright jewel. Lovely.