Being from the Northwest, I am used to two actual seasons: wet and then briefly dry. Usually, there is a wonderful Indian summer that sinks into a brief fall, and maybe a warm snap or two before the dry summer as our spring. One of the reasons I was glad to winter-over in New England, beside the potential boyfriend, was to experience four seasons.
New England is famous for the ‘Leaf Season’. I was amazed to see Leaf Watch on TV in which the weather forecasters brief folks on prime viewing locations. There are leaf viewing traffic jams.
Coming from Fir Country, I’ve learned a few things out here about leaves. First, yellows and oranges are in certain trees all along. The green chlorophyll just blocks it from our particular visual spectrum. As the chlorophyll dies due to the cold, we see the other colors. Maples’ reds and purples are a different chemical reaction caused by glucose trapped in leaves. The brown leaf of the Oak is waste product and the true color of death.
A warm wet spring, a summer neither too hot nor dry, and a fall with plenty of sun and cool nights are ideal to kick the chemical reactions for a good “show” into overdrive. Here in New England, that means not dipping into freezing too soon. You can count on leaves turning about 100 miles a week as the change slowly makes it way to the scrub pine forests of the Deep South.
Autumn in New England is just as I hoped it would be. Vic and I joined some of his friends for heirloom apple picking and organic pizza in Amesbury. Shannon and Pablo met us at Franconia Notch in the White Mountains for a camping, hiking, and leaf viewing on the way back in Vermont. On top of that, I got a couple bike rides in between job hunting: one day out to Lexington with Vic and a short trip out to Concord to find Walden Pond. I never did find Walden Pond, but did end up having some lovely cake and looking at the battlefields of the Revolution. The leaves that evening glowed like embers and I wished I had on another coat.
Autumn as an Actual Season