by Jim Bessey editor
Here in the Northeast the big fall leaf-peeping season typically peaks right around the Columbus Day Weekend. Not this year. In fact, we had barely reached 50% of peak by that time. Now, two weeks later...
While we were sleeping, and while the drizzly gray days had us yearning for Nap Time, the trees in the Finger Lakes Region quietly dressed themselves in spectacular colors -- finally. Some of our hardier trees still cling to green, and many others are already almost bare; but now the rest have decided to perform in brilliant fashion.
The breathtaking palate of colors is enough to distract a driver right into the guardrail. Even the willows have decided to join the party, though they tend to pause half-changed in shades of yellow and pale green like streamers of succotash. It's the oaks, maples and underrated sassafras that own the show, presenting a dazzling array of muted yellows, fiery oranges, and sizzling scarlet. The purple beeches and Japanese maples have the key cameos in shades of burgundy and port wine.
This incredible art exhibit won't last, of course. The brightest colors might not make it to the weekend. Already the fallen leaves decorate our still-green lawns like cinnamon sugar on toast. They flutter to the ground like slow-motion snowflakes -- one here, a dozen there, a flurry of a hundred with every gust of wind. There's a front coming through tonight, bringing pounding rains and threats of dangerous wind gusts. Maybe the show will be over by morning. Somehow I doubt that. Our trees have waited long past their standard deadline. I doubt they'll bare their branches to winter without a battle.
All photos copyright 2010 Jim Bessey. Reprints with attribution
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