Falling for Fall Foliage

Aesop, the ancient Greek orator famous for telling animal fables, coined the phrase, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” (Of course, he also said, “Slow and steady wins the race,” so what the heck does he know.) I respectfully disagree, at least in this regard: There’s nothing more familiar to me than the sky above or the view outside my window, and at this particular time of year, it breeds nothing but wonder and joy.

That’s because I happen to live in New England, and each and every autumn is a celebration. The weather is cooler and the leaves begin to turn brilliant shades of yellow, orange and red—often all at the same time on the same tree! And when you drive by expansive forests all ablaze in color, it’s quite awe-inspiring.

Now you might think that after many years one would eventually feel if not contempt, then at least disinterest in this annual spectacle. But I can honestly say that it just doesn’t happen. In fact, every weekend throughout October hoards of out-of-staters drive through New England just to see the trees; we refer to them as leaf peepers.

Perhaps our love affair for fall isn’t based solely on the brilliant colors. Maybe we’re drawn to the delicate brevity of the event itself. In just a couple of weeks, it’ll all be gone. The leaves will turn brown, break free and float to the ground, leaving behind bare branches backlit against a sky that grows increasingly colder and darker with each passing day.

But hey, that’s OK, there will be another autumn next year, and with any luck, I’ll be right here bearing witness to its beauty.

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