Sunday, September 10, 2006

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

I spent Friday evening sitting around a campfire, overlooking the New River before it disappears between two steep mountainsides. I was made well aware that the seasons are changing by the coolness in the air once the sun went down. This underdressed camper really enjoyed the campfire.This is, by far, my favorite time of the year. In the next few weeks we’ll get to witness nature’s display of artistry as the green canvas gives way to yellows, oranges, reds and browns. Here in the New River Valley, the locust trees are starting to turn yellow and drop their leaves. The burning bushes aka spindle trees are starting to burst with their red beauty. It won’t be too long before I’ll need to dig through my stash of lawn tools looking for the rakes. Hopefully, the hardwoods will hold on to their leaves long enough for us to have weeks of enjoying their color. Over the past few years we’ve experienced major cold fronts that have swept through the mountains that, almost seemingly overnight leave the trees bare. It’s generally the night before I plan to take pictures of the foliage in the morning. Luckily, I did snap the one below last fall the weekend before one of the big winds came through.With the return of Autumn comes the return of the best culinary concoctions that one probably wouldn’t be eating when it’s 90 degrees outside. My famous chili beans recipe has been dusted off, cranberry relish has a place on the grocery list and hot teas take the place of lemonade as my beverage of choice. For the beer connoisseurs, remember this rule: The darkness of your beer needs to match the darkness of the sky at 6pm.The biggest reason that I love this time of year is for the hiking. Our low-country southern brethren take back their heat and humidity that they have so nicely shared with us since June so climbing mountains is more comfortable of a task. When some of the trees start to lose their leaves, the views that open up are unmatched by any that you find from the comforts of your car. By the time the leaves are gone from the trees, we’re reminded of what has spent the last half year in the shade of the forest, the mountains themselves. Rocky cliffs, caves, spines and the real steepness are exposed. With an unobstructed view from the top, you realize just how much you missed seeing the valleys and streams below you. Just as ready as you are to see old friends at a homecoming football game or welcome family to the Thanksgiving table, I’m ready to reacquaint myself with the mountains of autumn.

2 comments:

CSL said...

Although the ocean is in my blood, I love the mountains equally and they are at their best in the fall. You might consider adding cranberry applesauce to your list - it is a perfect fall food.

Jeremy Peters said...

Looking forward to some reaquainting myself. Let me know when you're ready to head out!