It is the end of September. Normally, we would be wrapped in the bright leaf colors for which New England is justly famous. Not so far.
We were at Manchaug a few days ago and everything was green. We always look for the first color of the year along the water, but aside from some berries and a few yellow leaves, it was still deep summer green.
It seems to make the colors bright and show up sooner than anywhere else.
But it was green along the river on Tuesday. Today is Friday and it has been pouring for the past couple of days. Good news? The temperature is down and you can see bits and pieces of the season on its way.
Bad news? If it doesn’t stop raining soon, the leaves will turn yellow, then brown, then fall off the trees. Rain is just not the best thing for autumn colors.
Today, though I began to see — through the rain — the start of colors and even the occasional scarlet maple tree shining through the green. And finally, I saw a tree. Just one tree, mostly yellow with some red. I took pictures.
Considering how grim much of life has been, one bright tree made all the difference.
Some of my friends have the Oktoberfest in Munich on their Bucket List. They think I should want to be a party to this too. The older I get, the worse this idea actually sounds. For those who don’t know, around six million visitors show up for the 17 to 19 day festival. If you do not have a reservation in advance, you are not likely to get into one of the crowded beer halls. In fact, huge crowds of beer drinkers can get rather unhappy if they run out of beer, as happened at the 200th anniversary in 2010.
The Bavarian festival began in October 1810 when Crown Prince Ludwig got married and invited the people of Bavaria to join in the celebration on the field in front of the city gate at Munich. The celebration was held somewhat annually and eventually lengthened. It’s beginning was moved into September and ended with the first weekend in October. So in many ways this “Volksfest” is more of a September event. If the 3rd (German Unity Day) falls on a Monday or Tuesday, the event gets extended to include that date.
Contrary to what many may now think, the event was not always held. Twenty four fall seasons saw no festival because of cholera, or war, or hard economic times. But most years the autumnal celebrations go on around Germany and tourists flock to the carnival like events. For those who like to wander the grounds or can not get into a hall, the outside areas now include rides, food booths and beer booths. You might find a seat outside, but the fall weather is not always accommodating.
One year a friend who lives in France tried to organize a trip to the Munich Oktoberfest, but the reality is you must plan a year in advance in order to get in. So we made the best decision we could have made. Together we went to the second largest German Fest which is held in Stuttgart, Cannstatter Volksfest. Yes, it was crowded and the weather was not the best, but we got into beer halls, drank and ate with people from around the world, stood on our benches and sang songs we barely knew. It could not have been better.
Like many European cities, the public transportation in Stuttgart is excellent. Although we were not particularly close to the fair grounds, we took the train and got off right at the entrance to the festival. When we left, we found an old German sitting across from us on the train. Since there are many beer halls featuring a different beer each, my friend asked the gentlemen what is the best beer in Germany. “Frei bier,” he exclaimed. That will remain one of our favorite travel moments. We repeat it often.
Perhaps the best part of the adventure was sharing in the fun with one of my best friends. Yes, we seem to have fun wherever our journeys take us, but we would not have found an atmosphere quite like that Oktoberfest anywhere else in the world.
Note: Click on the Stuttgart picture for a larger version of the fair grounds. We did walk around in the rain, just like everyone else.
It’s the time of year when people spend a lot of time and energy looking at trees. Photographing trees. Talking about trees.
It’s autumn in New England and trees are big news. People come from long distances to look at the foliage. A good year for the trees is also a good year for tourism and all the associated businesses. Today the rain stopped and the leaves are changing. We don’t get a lot of color right here because most of our trees are oaks and they don’t have the really bright colors.
You want serious color? Look to the alders, birch, and maples. Especially the sugar maples. They give you the bright reds and oranges that screams “autumn!!”
We were out taking pictures yesterday, so these photos are a preview. Much more will come (I hope) during the next week or so. Once the change begins, it happens fast. Between yesterday and today, there’s big difference.
Just when I thought that Autumn was going to be a subdued season this year, beaten by the dryness and higher than usual temperatures … just when I had resigned myself to brown leaves followed by snow …
It rained a bit more last night. This morning, the leaves popped into full Technicolor. Autumn arrived in all its glory.
My maple tree is back. It’s more orange than red this year, but it is definitely wearing its festive colors. Golden autumn has arrived and it is glorious. It did not betray us. I look out my window and it’s breathtaking.
Fall is always too brief. I’m not sure if it could ever be long enough. If it were all year round, I’d be fine with that. I love this time of year. I love the cool days and crisp nights. Bright leaves, amber sunshine. Warm golden twilight.
Baseball and football on the television and glorious days in which Mother Nature has put on her fanciest clothing. It’s her last party until the long, white winter sleep.
Should you decide to accept this challenge, you can use a picture from this or any post of mine — or any other picture you like. Write something about the picture or make something up, using a photograph — any photo — as a jumping off point.
Fall does not officially begin until the Wednesday, September 23, the first day of Autumn. That’s the day of the Autumnal Equinox, when days and night are of equal length.
Locally in central Massachusetts, the leaves began turning before August was done, leaving the beginning of September to feel like summer, with temperatures in the nineties and high humidity … while big swathes of the woods are bright yellow.
Full Autumn in New England does not visually arrive until early to mid-October. As we drove into upstate New York, it was obvious that the trees had not changed yet, but were thinking about it.
Two days later, Autumn is rushing in, surrounding golden fields full of corn and barley. Goldenrod and purple asters are everywhere.
So our early changing leaves must be from lack of rain. We had no rain in August, not one measurable rainfall.
About half of the gallery photos were all near my house during the first week of September when the aspens had just turned bright yellow. The rest of the photographs were taken today (September 15th) in and around Cooperstown, New York in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains.
Wildflowers in an empty field in upstate New York
If you live in this region, you know that the color of the leaves changes from month to month — from light golden green in the spring, to the deep green of late summer.
The big water is Lake Otsego, “Glimmerglass” of James Fenimore Cooper. The place in which we are staying is on the shore of the lake.
Cardinal Guzman, the host of this challenge, has totally blown us away with his own galleries this month. Absolutely, go take a look. Amazing photography.
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