Autumn watch

On the page with all the weather reports and forecasts, the New York Times also prints a little map at this time of year that purports to show where to go look at fall foliage. According to this map today, northern Maine and the White Mountains in New Hampshire are past peak color, while New Bedford is still green.

Except that it’s not green around here. Carol and I drove my sister Jean to the airport today, and in the low areas along I-195, we saw plenty of color in the trees. A few trees were at peak color: one entirely crimson red maple caught my attention, even at 65 miles per hour, even though I was driving in traffic that required most of my attention. And most of the maples in the swamps were at least half red, or orange, or yellow.

You can only think of “peak color” covering broad swaths of land if you look at autumnal colors from a car. At any speed over 25 miles per hour, the variegated colors of individual trees blur together into a homogenous “fall foliage color.” Viewed that way, New Bedford is still pretty much green. But if you walk into a red maple swamp, or even drive by one, peak color is happening right now; and the red maples will be bare by the time the New York Times declares this region is a peak color.

Carol and I watch the maple tree across the street from us; the windows of our second floor apartment look straight into its branches. Our fall foliage season started a week and a half ago, when we looked out one cool morning and realized with shock that some of the tree’s leaves were touched with red. “Look at that,” I said, “the tree across the street has some red…” “Don’t say it!” said Carol. “I’m not ready for fall.” Neither of us is looking forward to the moment when that tree is entirely red. At the moment, we’re used to seeing a few little touches of red, and we haven’t really noticed those few little touches are slowly spreading.

3 thoughts on “Autumn watch

  1. Cindi

    Oh how I miss the bright colors of Fall in New England! I grew up in W. MA and SW VT and miss the change of seasons.

    In lower Alabama we have two colors…green…then brown. It gets old. My mind is drifting away to bright reds, yellows and oranges. Sigh.

  2. Administrator

    Hey Rev. Cindi, nice to hear from you. Yeah, when we were living in the Midwest and out in California, we really missed the fall colors. (By the way, get that new blog up and running–daily posts, OK?)

  3. DadH

    The colors are getting very bright red here in Concord. It seems a little early this year even though there has been lots of rain this summer. I thought that the colors were supposed to be brighter when there is less rain. BTW: Last year I took a train ride throught the mountains of New Mexico and Colorado, and there the trees turn bright yellow. Pretty but different.

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