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Friday, June 25, 2010

Our Festival of Trees

Yvonne Osborne at The Organic Writer is hosting the Festival of Trees for July. I’m all for trees, so I thought I’d try my hand at a post.


Here in New England, it seems that we are always waiting for things. We wait for the first snow and then pray for it to melt. We wait for the weather to warm, for the high pitched bleat of tree frogs in the marsh, for the green fingered daffodils to fork in front of stone walls, for the smell of lilacs. We long for perennials to bloom, tomatoes to ripen, and then temperatures to drop. We hope for plowed roads in winter, for the damp to fade in the spring; for rain to replenish the gardens. We anticipate dry snow for skiing, hot sun for the strawberries, the taste of just-picked blueberries in August. We look forward to the aroma of damp leaves and the first fire we light in the fireplace.

But of all of these things, there is probably nothing more deserving of our expectation than the annual transformation of our trees, the explosions of red, yellow and orange fireworks that blast off through thick woods during autumn’s foliage carnival. This party though, seems to creep up on those of us who live here. Fall seeps in via the patch of burnt-umber on the tree by the market in mid-August, through the crimson poison ivy vine twisting around a pine deep in the woods.

On our highways though, it’s all about awareness. Tour buses stack up, heading to New Hampshire and Vermont, to the mountains where curving roads ribbon through passes splashed with buckets of dye. Prudent New Englanders know better than to attempt a weekend drive to the places these leaf peepers frequent; when possible, we stick to back roads, or travel during the week. Starting in September, local news broadcasts include foliage reports. Websites are dedicated to leaf updates and newspapers print colored diagrams predicting “peak color.” This is how we locals learn where not to go.

As hordes of visitors gaze out our overlooks, snapping up bottles of maple syrup and cracking their first lobsters, we wait, going about our lives, while scarlet filters across the tops of maples and yellows drift through stands of birch and ash. Until one day, when driving down a road, up a hill, or walking past a clutch of trees, we stumble upon a luminious pallet and realize that this is it. This is as good as gets. We take a moment to breathe in a waving patchwork of color, then cross our fingers that we get one more glimpse. After all, the next big wind will eliminate the show.

It happens some years that an unexpected storm hits before we look up, and we miss the illustration. So I’m an advocate of packing a camera for every trip to the grocery store, because you never know. On the way to finish the weekly shopping, it’s just possible to chance upon the perfect tree.




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18 comments:

Robin said...

Excellent way you have with words Miss Liza. Lovely shot at the end. A+.

glnroz said...

you know what? Normally, I am not a jealous person, but today I think I am. You have described a scene that I hope to see someday,(that part of the country),, thnx

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Gorgeous words and photo. How I miss the maples turning.

Mitzi said...

Beautiful words and photo!

Zoe C. Courtman said...

What a gorgeous post. Now I'm all anxious for the smoky air, the chill, the blazing colors of autumn. My absolute favorite time of year. Thanks for sharing this!!

Simon C. Larter said...

When my seven figure advance arrives, I'm totally moving to the Hudson Valley. Yup.

I do love the New England countryside. Lovely post, good lady.

Helen Ginger said...

That is a gorgeous tree, but you realize that by the end of the post you had become one of those "peepers," don't you?

I'm a peeper this week, although not in New England.

Straight From Hel

Ro Magnolia said...

Beautifully, beautifully written. (and doesn't it always amaze you how beautiful poison ivy can be?)

rose said...

my computer was sick now working. saw your post loved the description. wish i could see your part of the country. i love trees i don't remember if you saw my post about trees, if not sounds like we both have a love of god's nature. have a good day.

Stephen Tremp said...

I love perfect trees, especially in the fall. I also like old houses and barns too. Covered bridges are rare so its a real treat to come across one ans snap a shot.

Stephen Tremp

Lisa and Laura said...

Absolutely beautiful.

I swear last year, the leaves turned over the course of a weekend. By Monday, when I'd finally reminded myself to grab my camera, they were on the ground!

Lydia Kang said...

That picture is absolutely gorgeous. I miss those New England autumns! They're pretty out here in the midwest but not quite as colorful.

Tabitha Bird said...

Love this Liza. Photo was beautiful too. Almost as lovely as your words/

Let me know when Wanting dances into your garden :)

Ed Pilolla said...

i was lucky enough to live in new hampshire for a couple years. i was a newspaper reporter and actually did a story about driver's education schools steering clear of the interstate during peak peepers weekends. ha!

an explosion of color is right. it's difficult to write about sensational visual events because of the degree of difficulty, but you pull it off. i love how you make me smell the strawberries early and that help see the colors of the trees later so well. so good.

here from the festival of trees.

Elizabeth said...

Although I'm a child of conifers in the Pacific Northwest myself, I do remember the amazing spectacle of a whole hill covered by red trees in some park in upstate NY - fantastic. I like how you evoke the sense of waiting for the highlights of each season.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Making my way around the festival again and realized I never left a comment. This was a lovely post and a grand addition to our collection. I'm with you, taking a camera with me just in case. And what a breathtaking picture you snapped. New England is a very special part of the country. Thank you Liza for sharing this and participating in my undertaking.

Suzi Smith said...

Mmm.. thoroughly enjoyed your descriptions & that photo is gorgeous.

Pam Houghton said...

Do you read Anita Shreve or Elizabeth Berg? They are also very good imagery in their novels...your descriptions remind me of them.