Last Thursday I loaded my two cocker spaniels, some winter-type clothing and myself into my SUV and headed north to visit my dad in New Hampshire. We left Central Florida in the upper 80’s. As we passed further north into Georgia and then South Carolina, I began to notice some leaves were changing color. In my preparations for the trip, I had completely forgotten I would be moving north into a range of fall colors.
The southern color changes were just sprinklings in the trees of pale yellows, some light mustards and dullish coppers. By the time we got to Columbia, South Carolina, the sky was overcast and the drizzle and rain had started. We spent the first night in Statesville, North Carolina. There were more patches of color showing up along with additional colors; some dull reds, light burgundies and some brighter golds. We headed off the next morning in foggy overcast skies with more rain than drizzle. The trees with colored leaves became more abundant, but still none of the bright reds and yellows I had remembered from my youthful New England falls and had hoped to see as we moved north into Virginia and West Virginia. Perhaps the lack was due to the drizzle or too early in the month.
By early afternoon we were in Maryland and then into Western Pennsylvania. Though the drizzle and rain persisted, the trees and fields became more cloaked in colors. I passed cornfields half harvested with Van Gogh-like rows of corn stalks in amazing colors of browns, red browns and dull reds to almost pinks. The harvested fields, rows of dark chocolate earth, were covered with shreds of red tans, burgundy tans and shades of tans strewn along where the corn had grown. Skies were blue grays and shades of grays in the over cast clouds swirling above the chocolate earth and burgundy tans corn stalks. There was a cornfield full of corn stalks not yet harvested; rows of brighter greens to a dull green almost tan.
Progressing into Western Pennsylvania, among the dull colors of the beginning stages of color, were some brighter reds and yellows. At one point, I could see further down the highway, a tall full tree right at the edge of the road. A steel blue gray sky rose behind it, dull grasses encircled its base, the bark a dark brown wet from the rain. Several large patches of leaves were a bright yellow green, but the majority of the tree was flaming red; orange reds mixed with yellow reds and red reds. I had been enjoying its stunning flash of color as I approached along the highway, and felt I must be passing “A Burning Bush.” Hill sides and mountain areas in Western Pennsylvania were spotted with patches of varying fall colors. Still not the large masses of brilliant colors I was expecting. A teasing of what I hoped was to come.
We made it to Allentown, Pennsylvania that night. Cold, rainy, raw and windy. The next morning we headed off towards the north, then northeast and on to the north again. The coloring remained pretty much the same - dull golds, dull coppers, burgundies and duller yellows. The drizzle became a steady heavy rain until I was just south of Poughkeepsie, New York. I got off the New York Thruway to get gas. “Marge” (aka Googlemaps App) let me know there was a quicker route, so we followed it. Traveling along some back roads, I wondered if I had made the wrong decision, but the roadsides and front yards were dotted with fall flowers and colored bushes in burgundies, reds, mustards, golden browns, coppers and sprinkles of orange. The rain had switched back to drizzle and I wondered what it all would have looked like if the sun had been shining. I was directed to the Taconic State Parkway. What a delightful route; two lanes in my direction for 70 miles and barely another vehicle on the road! The drizzle had pretty much stopped, though the sky was cloudy and overcast. At one spot on the Parkway, I drove by a long cluster of trees along the roadway edge. Passing by I noticed the colors appeared to the eye to be in stripes. A whole tall tree from bottom to top in pale yellows; next to it the whole tree in pale reds; next to that a whole tree still in its greens; then followed by another whole tree in pale reds. This coloring continued for quite a distance. The effect was a “wall” of multi-colored stripes along the road as I passed.
Once on I-91 heading north through Vermont, the colors became more vibrant; more trees with larger areas turning to those wonderful yellow-reds, oranges, bright yellows and stunning golds. With temperatures in the upper 40’s, the sun came out as I drew closer to my New Hampshire exit and I enjoyed the last hour of my drive in bright sun that illuminated those glorious New England colors I had hoped to see.
My three day trip overflowed with a feast of Nature’s inspiration from the southern duller colors to the New England brilliance of color as I moved north. Many images from the journey are firmly in my mind. I’m looking forward to trying my hand at replicating all those colors with dye and wool. Scenes from along the way - the corn fields of Maryland; a “burning bush” tree; the “wall” of multi- colored stripes - will find their way into my hooking projects. Who knew that this trip to spend time with my dad would fill my creative buckets to overflowing!