“Aren’t they beautiful!” says Bill. “They’re just beginning to turn color.”
The autumn leaves of New England are indeed celebrated for their glorious yellows, oranges and reds during the week or two in early October when they flame into brilliant color before falling to the ground to be swept up, bagged and disappear. (Or else to disintegrate into mulch in heavily forested preserves.) I hear enterprising touring companies in England even organize one-week trips abroad to come look. (Although in my view that’s a waste of a cross-Atlantic journey. How long can you look?)
We live three states south of Vermont and New Hampshire, where most of the publicized beauty takes place. So what happens here happens several weeks later. But Bill’s right. (Even though his enthusiasm for the beauty of it is perhaps a trifle premature.) It’s beginning. Now that he’s brought my attention to it, I notice it whenever I step out the door:
It’s also across the way, where our neighbors live, and where it’s even more pronounced:
Should I be glad we”re soon to have a feast for the eyes whenever we raise them upward? Or is there something melancholy in this last gorgeously defiant display before the fading of the year?
I suppose it depends on where you stand on life’s arc and how steady your footing. Now that I’m 83 and — yes, let’s be candid — on life’s downward chronological slope, I can’t help feeling somewhat sad when I see all this dying beauty. And also can’t help hoping I’ll still be around to see it (however sad my feelings) when it returns again and again.
So here’s to years and years more autumn leaves! Bring them on in all their splendor! I’m ready.