02 November 2008

Hudson River School

The Hastings water tower keeps watch on the New Jersey Palisades

Autumn has come, and with it I have come to Westchester, where I pretend to be a commuter, taking the train into the City to work, and where I am spending more time with my goddaughter. (Please, try to control yourselves — envy is such an unattractive characteristic, don’t you think?)

I’m told that the foliage at the moment isn’t quite what it could be. People say we are lacking a particularly cold night that would have popped the colors to more vibrant life; it’s true I’ve seen very few really good reds, apart from a solitary maple in the parking lot of the A&P. But the yellows are tremendous, and as I walk I admire great nimbi of lemon and daffodil that shudder nervously, out of place among the piney green.

On several morning walks this week, I have forgotten to bring a camera, and on another morning, I brought it only to discover that the batteries were dead. Yesterday morning, I took lots of pictures, though the light was by far the least interesting I’d seen all week, the sky hazy and not azure but merely blue. It is just as well that I’m such a terrible photographer.

Growing up in Dallas, I had only vague notions of autumn: it’s a season that, in North Texas, takes place in late November or early December, between 3 and 4 A.M., when every deciduous leaf simultaneously turns brown and drops to the ground: you wake up, and it’s over. Fall foliage was otherwise something I knew only from pictures in books. I’m not the only transplant who feels this way: during her brief stint in Westchester, Karen Reidy used to collect leaves and to experiment with different potions and unguents with which to preserve the colors. My attempts in this regard resulted in some rather greasy scrapbooks that smelled of rancid cashews and attracted vermin.

And so when I see the morning light against the russet tapestries of the New Jersey Palisades, I must take pictures of my own; I must find some way to record what I see. If I had only black-and-white images, I might not bother; if I had no blog, you wouldn’t be subjected to the gracelessness of my efforts.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, envy is inattractive; but fueled by your photos and the memories of autumns past, it's hard to control. Keep searching for that perfect blazing maple - it's out there!