The Glory of Fall

This morning I had one of those rare moments of joy. The sun was shining at just the right angle to turn the hillside of our small valley into a glorious mass of ginger-butterscotch-bronze, outlined against a dark grey sky. It didn’t last long. The grey clouds took over and within a few minutes it was raining hard. I had been lucky to catch a brief ‘one in a million’ moment of the glory of Fall.

Many of the trees have lost their leaves early due to the drought and a few strong winds and heavy rains have plastered them on the roads and verges. Frequently, I drive a very narrow, winding road beside a creek. Whatever the season, water bubbling over rocks offers a picturesque backdrop to the trees and bushes; spring is all pale greens and yellows; summer is dark green and mystery; autumn is a wall of sunshine yellow and green. Some of the trees show yellow at the tips of the branch but retain the dark green close to the trunk. This year there were very few reds and purples. The creek is running very low too so today’s rain is welcome.

Yesterday, driving home, I thought I was seeing a UFO. An enormous ghostly shape was floating over the fields beside the road. I blinked. The sky was pale grey with low clouds and the shape faded in and out. I thought perhaps one of the car advertising blimps had come lose from its moorings – but there were no markings; it looked like a barrage balloon from my youthful days – but perhaps I was hallucinating. Being on a narrow road with other drivers, I couldn’t stop to investigate but the vision was clarified on the local evening news: a military blimp carrying thousands of dollars worth of secret equipment had torn loose from its Maryland base and drifted happily across State lines into Pennsylvania, trailing yards of cable, eventually snagging a high power line before coming to rest in woodland. In its travels, it plunged over forty thousand households and businesses into electricity deprivation. Military personnel were scrambled from Maryland to come and rescue their wandering possession and its cargo of highly secret electronics. I bet they didn’t appreciate the rain and high winds as they struggled to retrieve it from the trees! The newscast also showed a clip from some months ago when an officer was asked what was the chance of the blimp slipping its tether; the answer was “one in a million” – well this week saw the ‘one’!

It’s hard to believe it’s the end of October already. Stores have been bursting with orange Hallowe’en horrors but by Sunday will have switched to Christmas gimmicks; somewhere amongst all that Thanksgiving will be struggling to make itself seen.

I will keep my eyes open for another glimpse of Fall beauty but I guess we have winter snow and ice to contend with pretty soon. That too has its moments of  glory of course, – best enjoyed from behind glass, beside a glowing fire with a hot toddy in hand! I doubt I shall see another ‘one in a million’ moment

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