Carolina Fall

Glowing autumn colours

I was gazing out of the hotel window a couple weeks ago when I was on a trip to Tennessee.  It is officially Fall but we have had unseasonably warm weather and the trees seem reluctant to turn.  The fact that we followed some incredible storms with wind and heavy rain, tornado sightings and generally what the Weather People here call “active weather”, spoke more of summer.  But as a skein of geese fly overhead calling disconsolately, I know that I am looking at the beginning of autumn. 

It often seems to me that trees are like people and many have quirky personalities.  Some of the trees out there are completely bare – almost flaunting their nakedness!  Not in a vulgar way as an exhibitionist, but rather a matter of expediency.  As if they know that they will be bare most of winter so instead of going about it slowly, they just got it done – in a green-today and gone-tomorrow kind of way.  Others almost seem apologetic and a little shy about this whole changing thing.  In fact some of these trees look as if they are blushing, turning pink or orange from the top down.  Then there are those trees which are just down-right determined to hang onto their green for as long as possible.  All this makes for gorgeous quilted-counterpane-scenery with soft golds, glowing yellows, blushing orange and starter reds showing against the deeper multi-hues of green.
Blue Ridge Parkway

Tomorrow we will travel up the Smoky Mountains and over to the Blue Ridge Parkway in search of a more advanced stage of autumn.  We expect to see a forest of trees in a far bolder dress.  There we will find the ones who have embraced this change of seasons and are flaunting their glorious colors before taking their well-earned winter rest.  There will be different colors at differing heights and dependant on the sunshine aspect of the slope or the protection of the valley.    

Smoky Mountains

A unique feature of the Blue Ridge Parkway is to be found in its name – this road of twists and turns often runs along the mountain ridge giving one the feeling that you are driving on the very tip of the world.  The views to left and right extend for mile after undulating blue mile.  It is one of those things so hard to capture in photographs which give but an indication of the magnificence and harder still to describe in words, all of which are inadequate.  It is truly a soul-kind of experience no matter the season you visit but perhaps especially true of the fall. Then the scenery takes on a living technicolor with specimens that continually surprise with their vibrant and extravagant color.  A stranger turned to us at one incredible viewing point, and said, “It makes you long to paint!” and I couldn’t have said it better.

Quilted-counterpane scenery
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