We began our 11-week See America tour in the fall, departing in early October. Here in California, there is some fall color, but it's mainly the occasional glorious tree, rather than the blaze of color that other places get as the trees prepare themselves for winter.
We dashed across Kansas, where the fall color was mostly from the pale gold of ripening fields of wheat, the stubble fields of harvested corn striped tan and brown, and vast stretches of maroon sorghum. But all other colors in Kansas are dwarfed by a sky so high and wide that it dominates all the other features. I understand now why people could enjoy living in Kansas, so far from the drama of ocean and mountain. It's that awe-inspiring sky that adds the spirit to that landscape.
Everyone told us fall was late that year; I like to think it waited for us. New York state was on fire with color from Buffalo until we crossed the border at Albany into Massachusetts, where the Berkshires took over with their own splendid colors.
The area around Boston was simply amazing. The Harvard campus with its red maples and colorful chairs in the quad, the trees lining every street, even the cemeteries were joyful with brilliant colors.
We don't think of New York City as a place for fall color with its looming skyscrapers and hurrying crowds, but even there we found touches of color. The startling blue of a crisp autumn sky glimpsed between the buildings,
the heavy heads of goldenrod along the High Line,
and even bright trees on a penthouse terrace, complete with (I imagined) a tycoon making deals on his cell phone.
In Connecticut, most of the leaves were already down, but they made for delightful sounds as we scuffed along through the colorful confetti.
We turned south and lost the colors through New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia. Only the produce in the farmer's markets spoke of fall as we dropped down through North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. In the South, I think the fall-blooming camellias are the spectacular color of autumn.
Our whole trip was a visual feast, and maybe I will find the words to describe some of the other pleasures, visions of colorful rock formations and dramatic desert plants. For now, however, I'm still enjoying the memory of all that autumn glory.