Earlier this month, I wrote a post that began with some words about autumn in our area. In it I mentioned that our autumns are not as spectacular as those in some other parts of the country because of the large number of evergreen trees in our forests. Last fall, we made our first trip to New England, and the trees there were spectacular. We encountered autumn's beauty around every bend in the road and each time we stepped outside our lodgings. I had never seen forests where every tree seemed to glow with colors of such great beauty.
I didn't believe we would have much in the way of autumn color this year. We've had a very dry summer, and I fully expected the leaves of most trees to turn brown and fall quickly from the trees. Over the past few days, I've had occasion to drive through the countryside in several directions, and today I went for a bike ride in the park across from our house. Suddenly in just a matter of days, the trees have begun to turn beautiful reds, yellows, and golds. I recognized that the beauty of the New England autumn was so amazing because I had never seen forests in which almost all the trees were deciduous. I saw our autumn show of color through new eyes this fall, recognizing that, while different from New England's, it can be just as beautiful, with the deep green of the pines contrasting with the colors of the sweet gums, dogwoods, maples, sycamores, hickories, and oaks.
As I rode my bike this afternoon, I thought about the difference in viewing the autumn show from my car and from my bike. As I drove, I saw great bursts of color against the evergreens and the sky, but from my bike, I could see the infinite varieties of shading that blend together to make the great sweeps of color I saw from my car. In one spot along my circuit, I passed a vine glowing with a fiery red that seemed almost alive as it climbed a tree. In other seasons, this vine would be considered a weed that might one day choke the tree, but now the vine justified its existence by revealing a color so brilliant it can only exist in nature. One can never underestimate the power of nature to inspire and renew us.