In the last post, I had just left the shores of Maine to drive through the turning foliage back to my hometown near Syracuse, NY. Driving through New England in the Fall was also one of my life goals, and Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont did not disappoint. Most of the woods through which I piloted my car were at peak color, or at least looked it to me, and I stopped a few times to make some images. The real intent however, was just to enjoy the drive; the colors streaming by on the backroads that climbed and dipped and swung through the rural towns, most of which had seen three centuries or more of Autumns and have still managed to not be overrun with strip malls or giant box stores.
It’s amazing how much I took for granted the cycles of nature when I was living in them, especially the changing of the seasons. Part of that may have been that Spring, Summer and Autumn always seemed so short compared to the lengthy, harsh winters of my hometown in Central New York, and thus I felt like the actual transitions took too little time to go from Summer to Fall to Winter and too much time to go from Winter to Spring to Summer. Or maybe it was completely average compared to other cities in that latitude and I was just feeling slighted for no reason. Either way, now that I have lived in Florida and am subject to what is basically – to me at least – “nice Summer” from October to April and “sweltering Summer” from April to October, visiting the Northeast in October reminded me how much I missed actual seasons. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fairly certain I will not be spending my years in the snow belt of Upstate New York any more, but I am definitely longing for a little more variety, as well as the opportunity to wear a sweater now and again.
After a couple nights in Syracuse I climbed aboard a rail car and watched the world wash by outside the window while I was taken to NYC. Traveling by train was yet another of my life long goals, and Im not sure I could have picked a better time to do it. We followed the Mohawk River east to Albany and then turned south along the Hudson and followed that all the way to Penn Station, in the heart of midtown.
For me, the best part of riding the train was being able to just sit and stare as the scenery blurred by on the other side of those tinted glass portals – something which is not easy (or safe) to do while driving. As we descended with the water through the Hudson River Valley the colors deepened with us. These trees, having been spared the frosts that a lot of New England had seen, had not yet had their leaves bitten by the cold morning air, browning and robbing them of their full glory until finally letting them go to drift down to the earth. These leaves glimmered with their full, radiant hues.
I spent an afternoon in Central Park with my good friend Jaclyn (a few pictures of her next time) on what might have been the last warm Autumn Sunday of the year. The entire park was adorned in it’s seasonal colors and it seemed as though most everyone who could come out to enjoy them were there. Late afternoon sun poked through golden branches and dappled the sheltered grasses that were now littered red and orange and crunched as you wandered through them.
Of all my memories of fall colors, from my time in the Northeast, in Montana and in countless other places, Central Park held its ground with the best of them, which made me all the more grateful to have witnessed it.