Thursday, December 16, 2021

Fall Fever

When Fall first arrived this year, I was skeptical that it would be a pretty one, in the way of fall foliage, that is. We had been dry for several weeks until that point, (at least in my neck of the woods in Princeton) and the temperatures were above average. Normally fall foliage performs its most spectacular and colorful displays when the weather conditions are right—cooler temperatures, especially at night, and more moisture than what we’d received until that point. When the rain started, and the temperatures started to cool, it was amazing how the tree leaves responded. 

Slowly but surely, not only did the maples begin their color show, but hickories began to change to lovely golden hues. I awaited the rest of our deciduous beauties to begin their fall displays with my trusty camera in hand. I snapped several hickory shots this fall. I normally enjoy the shaggy bark of the Shagbark Hickory at any time of the year, but this year, I took time to appreciate the beauty of the hickory leaves, which ranged from bright yellow to orange, to rust, sometimes on hickories within the same grove. Hickories’ huge compound leaves are pretty all throughout the growing season, but Fall makes everything special.

The oaks were taking their time, but their color is always well worth the wait. Their more subtle colors complement their drastic textures, with their heavy-duty leaves and ornate branching patterns and bark contributing to their fall beauty. As other tree leaves swirled in the wind and landed on the ground, many oak leaves persisted. Driving through our local countryside on the lookout for my known oak and hickory haunts, I am always on the lookout for more.

What started off to be a slow Fall that didn’t seem promising in the color department, turned into a beautiful lightshow of color. Most of the leaves have now fallen to the ground, waiting to be raked, piled, mowed, burned, or just blown around by the wind, and we are now experiencing the bleak late Fall time before the snow starts flying. Soon there will be another season of beauty to enjoy.