A fallen fall
Fall is ordinarily my favorite season. I love it when the air starts getting that snappy crispness. Then some time in late September I see the first few patches of startling red in the maples. Each day after that a new tree turns red, and then the oranges and yellows appear, and the whole thing builds to that glorious symphony of natural beauty we call fall.
It doesn't hurt that the sky is often powerfully blue, the grass still green, and the weather good for almost any activity, including just walking around and savoring it all. Here in New England we drink it in, trying to store the sensations to help us get through the long hard winter.
I don't want to gloat, but while you may see these images on a calendar, we see them all around us:
My favorite is the lowly sumac, a weed that grows freely and doesn't look like much in summer but turns into a shimmering glow of superbly and subtly mixed colors come fall:
But don't worry; I'm not gloating any more, and there's no cause for envy of New Englanders this year. Fall has been more or less a bust. A combination of factors, especially the rain and lack of sunlight, seems to have caused the worst fall in my memory, and I've lived in New England almost continually since 1969 (here's a bulletin-board discussion of the sorrowful situation from a bunch of leaf-peeping photographers. And here's the science of the whole turning-colors thing, from the US National Arboretum.)
Some trees do have a bit of tepid color, with mostly shriveled or mottled leaves. Many trees still sport green leaves, a thing ordinarily unheard-of at this time of year. Another bunch went from green to brown without passing through a colorful stage. Added to that, it feels as though we live in Seattle-on-the-Atlantic: rain and gloom, day after gray day.
Makes a person grumpy.