Author's note: The photos below are linked to screen-sized projections, which are, therefore, even more spectacular in their color presentation.
There is a magic about New England in autumn. Mere words don't live up to the magnificent display of soft purples, stunning yellows, gentle pinks and vibrating reds.
Not the House of Seven Gables -- but not far away. The roofline of home in Melrose makes a proper setting for the absolute brilliance of our pignut hickory tree, highlighted by a late-setting sun before the backdrop of a slate blue sky.
It doesn't last that long. Maybe a few weeks peak, at any one place. But if you're mobile, you can move with the fall wave that starts in September a couple of hundred miles north of Melrose, and sweeps down, day by day, lighting up the countryside in stunning color.
A concert of species, all vying to out-do each other, include red and white oaks, hickories, lots of maples and even some beech. From our perch on the hill we can see across the mile-wide ancient valley, now called Melrose.
Even the ferns struggle to get in on this annual manifestation, mimicking colors and even creating a few rare shades of their own. It would be hard to beat New England for autumn splendor.
November 2, 2001