Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Wind and Rain Won't Spoil Leaf Peeping

(Reclaimed from Bubblews, where it appeared on October 14, 2014. Image credit: Marcelo Coimbra at Morguefile.com.)

Relatives in Florida warned me about the two-week rain storm headed our way. What else is new. 

Regular readers know there's a running thread about this in my online writing: so often some other place gets a weather disaster and, apparently as an "edge" or "ripple," Virginia gets a lot of rain.

It's inconvenient, though, because autumn came late. We've only had one night cold enough to start coloring poplar, maple, sycamore, and dogwood leaves. Other trees are still green. I've enjoyed watching the first patches of orange and yellow appear on the mountain slopes, but now the wind and rain are starting to blow those colorful leaves away.

When I was growing up here, we didn't have enough oak trees to keep the autumn foliage effects going long. Visitors did not come here as "leaf peepers," just to admire the foliage. What would have been the point? Poplars were colorful for one weekend if we were lucky, and then the mountains looked bare for six months. I remember 1981 as the first year it was possible to enjoy a changing palette of foliage for, wow, three weeks. Now hardwood trees are slowly displacing some of the poplars, and the mountains show different mixes of autumn colors through October and November.

So fear not, visitors. The foliage probably won't be as rich as some of you may remember from other years, but the mountains will be colorful after this rain moves on. (And it should move on in time for "Home Craft Days" in Big Stone Gap, which is this weekend, too.)

(Update: it did.)