Today is Saturday, June 24, 2017

Quest for Fall colors

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When there is something beautiful in nature, I want to enjoy it and hold onto it. This fall, as I searched the roadsides for color among the trees, it was beginning to look as if everything was dried up - going from gray to brown instead of the beautiful colors of orange and red seen in falls past. Linda and I went on bike rides into the hills of Middle Tennessee trying to flush out some unusual trees hopefully holding on to their traditional fall plumage that would make us look up in delight.

It seemed the only tree respecting its roots around here was the maple that, in spite of its dried-out condition (no measurable rainfall in 40 days) still managed a bright yellow halo as its salute to the oncoming winter.

Eventually the oak trees began to turn and mixed with them, the dogwoods with reds and burgundies, began to give a final passing flare to the woodlands that were quickly approaching cold and the first frost of the season.

Wanting one more dose of the fun bicycling and the leaf color menagerie, Linda and I looked at the forecast for Nov. 23 with its predicted high of 64 degrees and figured another trip to the hardwood forest of Goose Horn Ridge would be enjoyable and productive. To do this, Linda would have to put some of the pre-Thanksgiving cooking on hold while I could simply postpone the front yard leaf round-up for another day before the big holiday visit from family and friends.

After some Thanksgiving preliminaries, we loaded up the bicycles and started east on the backroads, still looking for color. The most spectacular leaf change was found on Highway 53 going up to Chestnut Mound as we began to reach elevation. Then, going down again into the Granville Valley, the views were remarkable considering the lateness of the season. Here the maple trees covered the hills spectacularly in blobs of light yellows and deep reds.

We drove the 10-mile curvy highway toward Gainesboro and turned onto State Route 262 before going up to 900-feet altitude on Indian Creek Road, where some of the trees that hadn't lost all of their leaves gave a bright highlight to the deep woods. We cycled a couple of hours through the backroads before it was time to turn toward Lebanon along the same highway where the glow of the setting sun accentuated the yellows and oranges of the foliage.

It was a great privilege for me to be able to experience all of the beauty still displayed in the hills of Tennessee.

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