I have been a New England leaf-peeper for more years than I care to admit. Being a transplant to New Hampshire, my fascination with colored leaves stemmed from the lack of them where I grew up. Sure, the Sweet Gum tree in my grandmother’s yard was gorgeous (it also has the delicious name Liquidambar), but where were the forests of red and gold that I read about in my books? I remember carefully pressing Sweet Gum leaves in our thick phone book, and being satisfied that I’d done my autumnal duty.
I first visited New England when I was 19 and fell in love with it. October here is a riot of color, almost as if it knows that the next six months or so will be nearly devoid of color altogether and it has to cram in every last drop of red, yellow and orange. Autumn is short-lived, but worth the wait.
Even though I have been here for twelve years, I have to confess that I still refuse to go away – anywhere – during these brief few golden weeks. Vacation? Forget it … why would anyone want to miss this show? I am happily out there among the leaf-peepers — the tourist that I once was — snapping away with my camera and not caring what anyone thinks.
And I still press a few leaves in a phone book, to be taken out when the melee of color fades to the monochromatic months of winter and all is quiet again.