Sunday, October 24, 2010

Going, going ......gone!!!!

What's not to like about fall, especially if you live in a place where the leaves become such vivid and harmonious colors that they defy description?  I look forward to it each year, never fail to notice the first tinge of color in some roadside maple, usually in the third week of August.  And, I am an avid watcher and recorder of the accelerating slide into the beginning of October when the leaves are in full riot here in Maine.  If I had the time and money to do it, I might start in northern New England and follow the color down through New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and into North Carolina.  Anywhere there are great hardwoods becomes luminous and spectacular.  I was in Colorado just a few days ago, and our daughter said, people there go up in the mountains to see the 'colors', and when a friend said she'd done so, she said, "You mean the color.".   You see compared to New England, there is only ONE color in the Rockies, the yellow of the aspens...which really just seem to be fancified poplars that we call 'popples'.  Talk to me of rock maple, ash, oak, white birch and beech trees....all of which also provide wood worthy of making heirlooms.

But, one of the things about the coming of fall that makes me a little wistful is the fact that it is so brief.  A strong breeze comes up some afternoon, and the air is filled with flying leaves...and the riot is suddenly just a 'civil disturbance'.  It's over....just that quickly.  It fills me with a low-level sense of dread as I realize this moment is upon us.  As it is now.  I will go from walking in a green hall of trees, with only scattered dappling of sunlight, to a golden walking under an open sky, with clouds wheeling overhead.  I will stop leaving my sunglasses in the car, and soon I will be making decisions about whether or not to wear gaiters, and then snowshoes.

But, I suppose fall in New England wouldn't be so powerful if it were a season that hung around the way winter or summer does.  Both of those 'destination' seasons are long enough to make me forget their opposite. Seriously, when it is high summer, I cannot for the life of me remember what walking in these same woods in deep snow is like.  And, when I am doing just that, summer seems such a distant memory that it becomes almost unreal.  But, fall--and to a lesser extent, spring--are so anticipated and so fleeting, that both of them carry this feeling of urgency, a desire to breathe them in, to see them in all their richness, to really FEEL them...because I know that any day now, it will be gone.

And, that is just the way it should be.


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