What’s wrong with this picture?
Right. October 23. The middle of autumn. WHERE ARE THE FALL COLORS?
I’m told that in some places it’s Autumn As Usual. The reds are red. The golds are gold.
But here in Southwestern Pennsylvania, the trees either have green leaves or none.
This same picture from our back porch taken October 28, 2013:
SIGH. Not only are the skies gray, and the garden is finished, and the temperatures are in the forties, there are no bright autumn colors to cheer us and make this transition from summer to winter easier.
Some experts have predicted that maybe next week the leaves will turn. That the abundant rain in August and the warm temperatures in early October caused the leaves to keep producing chlorophyll, which keeps them green.
I remember as a kid asking about why the leaves were turning colors when we hadn’t had any cold temperatures yet. I was informed (by a science teacher) that it wasn’t the temperature, but the lesser daylight of fall that made the trees stop producing chlorophyll. Kind of makes me wonder what other misinformation I was given…
So I’ve done some research on this (read Googling why leaves turn color). The SUNY College of Environment and Forestry says, “Rainy and/or overcast days tend to increase the intensity of fall colors.” The website Earthsky.org notes, “Autumn seasons with a lot of sunny days and cold nights will have the brightest colors.” No wonder I was confused…
So with the lack of beautiful autumn photos to show you, I’ll post some pictures of what we’ve been doing for the last three months.
The back porch was mostly finished just in time for Labor Day.
The No-Fun Rule was in effect all summer, so we took a deferred vacation in early October to the Napa Valley. If your kids don’t live nearby, they should at least live in a great place to visit.
Thankful and blessed. Yes that’s what I’m feeling as I look over these photos. Despite no extravagant fall colors.
Instead I brought the fall colors inside to my living room.
There’s always a way to find joy.
Everywhere i look i see a poem waiting:
the muddy garden shoes by the door waiting
for my feet
to deliver me to a place of peace and solitude
where peppers bow and dance on heavy laden stalks.
Arugula sings as it grows — Taste me Taste me —
and beans swing through their jungle playing
hide and seek with the leaves;
the two flannel shirts shrugged off in haphazard heaps
on the chair in the mudroom
— his and hers — sleeves entangled, plaids clashing,
waiting for him to say (In the cool of the evening)
Have you seen my flannel shirt?
and she will know exactly where it is;
the okra on the counter, cut into symmetrical flowers,
waiting to be made into thick aromatic okra stew.
A friend brought it —
His wife said Don’t bring me any more okra.
I love okra, he grinned.
Maybe i won’t plant so much next year;
the glossy green peppers piled precariously
in the wicker basket — waiting their turn to be
sliced diced and frozen for winter’s
friday night fiestas;
the dark brown just-plowed garden dirt
drinking up the rain
waiting for the creamy garlic cloves
in their smooth purply skins
to spend the winter buried
in the snow-covered earth;
the lime green clock on the kitchen wall
bought at Walmart for $3.99
ticking away the seconds minutes hours
ticking away summer into fall
ticking away seasons into years — waiting
for someone to notice minute and hour hands
colliding with dizzying disorienting