Sunday, November 6, 2016

Fall Is Falling

My favorite tree in our neighborhood is this quaking aspen
around the corner from my house. With even the slightest breeze,
each leaf shimmies as if the entire tree is glittering.
It's especially beautiful when the leaves have turned yellow.

Four weeks ago, when we returned home from our ten days of California vacation, we found that autumn had finally come to town and painted our leaves in fall colors. Officially, fall arrived on September 22nd, more than a week before we left town, but the weather was still fairly warm and the leaves were still pretty much green. During the short time we were gone, that all changed.

The leaves of the oak trees in our front yard turn a golden-brown.
October 12, 2016

Of course, we do live in the White Mountains, surrounded by tall pines that remain green all winter long. No matter how many oaks and aspens and birches turn colors, there are always plenty of evergreens still in the background. Nonetheless, our area is a popular tourist destination when autumn arrives, when the Valley dwellers leave the warm temperatures in the desert to come see the "changing of the leaves." 

The leaves of our neighbor's little tree actually turn to the coveted red.

Our local treescape will never look quite like those amazing fall photos you see from the northeastern states, like Vermont, showing forests cloaked in a brilliant variety of colors. For one thing, there's all that eternal green of our pines. For another, none of our native trees change to those deep oranges and vibrant reds. You do see them occasionally, in town, but typically they were purchased from the local nursery. Even so, our yellows and golds and browns are still beautiful.

How my favorite quaking aspen around the corner looked yesterday.
November 5, 2016

The sad thing about the changing of the leaves is how soon they give up and let go, fluttering to the ground. Here it is, just four weeks later, and the deciduous trees are now mostly naked. Winter is only about six weeks away. This week the temperature is finally dipping into the 30's at night, with a high in the 60's during the afternoon. The snow could begin at any time.

The two oaks in my front yard are bare, too.

Meanwhile, we'll keep enjoying what's left of autumn. There's just something about the crisp mountain air and the smell of wood smoke from the neighbors' wood stoves that inspires anticipation of Thanksgiving feasts and Christmas trees and stockings hung with care. I love this season!

So where did all those leaves go? Right here, covering my yard!

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