Friday, October 1, 2010

Shades of Fall in Ocean City















Here at the Jersey Shore, Fall arrives differently than in places where great swathes of trees blanket hillsides with brilliant color. On the island, Autumn is the season of rich jewel tones...but displayed more subtlety.

As I walk around town, I notice many shades of green still remain in yards and community gardens. There are the deep hues of the evergreens, holly, and cedars that will abide throughout the winter. Many bushes and trees are already thickly covered with fat berries in rich red or brilliant coppery tones. Some say that a large number of berries signals a rough winter. We'll see...

So far, it has been so warm that few of the deciduous trees have begun to shed their leaves - but, they will. Bradford Pear trees, maples, and others will display some fall color before losing their leaves, leaving a stark tangle of branches silhouetted against the blue sky. But for now, we continue to enjoy their cool, comforting shade and the sound of the wind through their leaves.

And everywhere there are flowers. Many bloom throughout the Fall, so Impatiens, and Begonias, and Marigolds remain - still sporting the pink, coral, yellow, and white of Summer. Increasingly, they are joined or replaced by Fall flowers. Mums appear in hues of cranberry, burgundy, lavender, and gold creating a rich tapestry of color. Asters grow in little mounds of bright blue flowers. They attract migrating butterflies who cover the blooms, sipping nectar. The entire plant seems to undulate with the fluttering of tiny wings.

Farmer's Markets and front porches are adorned with cheerful orange pumpkins in an impossible variety of shapes and sizes. Gourds and squash, apples and potatoes signal the turn of the seasons. We haul out favorite recipes for hearty soups and stews, for pumpkin pie and apple crisp. Our plates become an edible celebration of the colors, and flavors, and memories of Fall.

Even the ocean looks different in Autumn. It becomes a deep steel-blue or navy; sometimes it is a somber deep charcoal. Passing storms sometimes roil the waters and cause enormous, crashing waves and dangerous riptides. Other days, it is a soothing companion lapping the beach with an unending succession of gentle waves and a mesmerizing sound.

Autumn is truly a multi-colored treasure...enjoy!

"I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house..." Nathaniel Hawthorne

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