My Indiana friend sent a photo of her dazzling ruby-colored backyard. For your fall fix, she wrote. A California friend visiting Maine posted golden leaves on Facebook and happily reported it blustery enough for gloves and scarves.
Many who don’t live in Sonoma County and even locals believe we lack the autumnal graces. Certainly no fall to match the glory of Back East or the Midwest with their leaf peeping attractions, picturesque landscapes, little kids in red sweaters scuffing piles of leaves.
But they are wrong. We are not seasonally deprived. Our wind blusters. We scuff leaves. We are glove wearing people. Our leaves are worthy.
Certainly there is nothing second rate about this golden season. Look at that flash of ash. Check out the canopies of liquidambar. Come take our picture. We have old barns and gap toothed fences and last minute apples. Have you met our maples?
Unusually dry weather plus cold nights push the paintbrush. But are we paying for this beauty? We need more rain.
California is heading for the driest year on record. Photos of some of our reservoirs look like those parched watering holes in Africa where wildlife no longer gather to drink.
But do not miss our pinot colored grapevines, surrounded by redwoods, fit for framing. Our own backyard gingko trees spin off yellow discs into the faded garden with one white hollyhock and three tomatoes. Down the road I spotted a yellowed hill with a lone cow on the top against a rain-is-maybe-coming sky.
It didn’t rain that day, but we were graced this week. Our shiny fall was starting to get a little creepy, its beauty like a woman in a lovely gown who twirls to show a smiling Day of the Dead skeleton face. Still, we’ll need to dance and howl at the cold night moon for a drought-changer.
A monster typhoon hit the Philippines and its devastated people plead for relief, painting a sign across a road, saying “Help. Water.” The UN representative from the Philippines wept and called the climate crisis “madness.”
Closer to home, a meteorologist talked about the California drought and said we’re messing with the basic support systems of the planet. The starfish are losing their arms, melting into lifeless globs from a wasting disease. A strange anomaly, say marine scientists, trying to figure out what is wiping out these saltwater stars from Alaska to Santa Barbara. Is Fukushima radiation cooking our sea life?
Coastal people have front row seats on the ocean, wrote the New York Times, “where climate change will have a profound effect.” Keep a lookout.
Fodor’s Travel lists the five most amazing places to visit before climate change and pollution alters them forever. Antarctica is thawing. Mount Kilimanjaro is losing its storied snowcap. The Great Barrier Reef is eroding. The Taj Mahal is crumbling. The Dead Sea is sinking.
Might global warming have anything to do with our exceptional fall? It’s hard to remember what is normal. Next worry, what happens to the snow pack in the Sierra if the winter is dry. Can I rationalize watering my kale and spinach if I let the mums and pansies go?