I’m spending spare moments lately exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway. Since there is so much elevation gain within just a few miles of Asheville, it is possible to find some colors by adjusting my altitude, and also my attitude since it takes slowing down and really looking to find the best perspective to capture this colorful display. Every day fall is literally falling down the mountains, leaves swept away by wind and rain. It is almost startling to visit places full of color just days ago to find mainly bare trees.
This photo captures the complex leaf change of the Appalachian Mountains. There are 158 different tree species, more than anywhere in North America, and one of the most diverse temperate deciduous forests in the world. Because of this, fall has subtle hues and tones I haven’t seen in any other forest. Being a connoisseur of seasons, I may give the edge in terms of drama to New England and Adirondack fall displays, but there is a complexity and variety here I have grown to prefer.
In the foreground is a completely green shrub, as if the bridge forms the dividing line between summer and autumn. In the rapidly flowing water of the stream, there is a mix of color along with brown leaves carried from higher up the mountains. Beyond the bridge, the forest is at absolute peak, with the brilliant yellows and reds from trees that lean chaotically left and right as they reach for the light. I wish the leaves would last longer, but deep down know I appreciate them more because they are ephemeral, teaching me to let go and fall into winter.