Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Spectacular Fall Colors
Most people associate fall colors with mountainous terrain in the west or the northeast of the continent. For most people, this year's fall leaf-peeping is over. Most people do not think of southern California having a marvelous show of fall leaves. This December, however, we do have a remarkable display on the deciduous trees.
To be sure, with all the wind, some trees are nearly bare with their branches and twigs outlining the sky when I look through them. They are mute until the leaf buds of early spring.
There are a couple of reasons, I think, why this late fall's display is so good. One is that we are experiencing a lack of humidity that is similar to that of Death Valley or Antarctica according to the meteorologist I heard yesterday on NPR. There isn't the rain of the past two seasons to dampen the leaves, making them sodden, nor to drive them off the trees. Another is that there is so much contrast. That is, without any haze due to the last week's scrubbing from the high winds, the topaz blue of the sky is a vivid backdrop for the bright yellows, flame oranges and deep crimsons. All along the street below us, the trees are a delight. I have to drive in and out of our neighborhood about six times each day. Every time today, I have drawn in my breath when I gaped at the trees. Some are almost all yellow. Some are mixed with green and brown. Some are all orange and red. Most of these trees are poplar or sycamore or liquid amber trees. I don't begin to identify all of them. I just enjoy them. Nature's canvas is glorious.



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