Today is the last day of summer. Tomorrow is the first day of fall. Normally I’d be celebrating because fall has always been my favorite season. Fall has always brought great things, but especially respite from heat and drought. (That was even more true in Oklahoma than it is here.)
This year, however, I’m not quite as jubilant. I’m actually a bit wistful looking out at all the lush green that has been the summer of 2023. It was unusually cool in Denver this summer. I don’t think we ever hit 100 degrees. And there was so much rain. Everything in my yard is still bright, luscious green, although a close look will reveal some browning edges on the aspen leaves. The house across the street is totally obscured by my little redbud tree heavy with foliage (some torn by hail, but still green). The privets along the back fence are out of control, almost overwhelming the pine in the corner, and my two aspen trees have been very happy all summer — although one is still suffering from last winter’s cold and drought and may or may not recover.
Local meteorologists are predicting a brilliant, possibly record-breaking, fall because of all the moisture and cooler temps. And I look forward to that. I still remember one year when I went leaf peeping and the mountainsides were covered with sad, wilted, tired aspen trees backed up by brownish conifers hit heavily by both drought and beetles. So depressing.
But there were other years, good years for leaf peeping. I particularly enjoyed 2012. (Has it really been that long ago!?) The post is broken by numerous formatting changes since then and I don’t think I can fix it. I may not even have those images anymore. (WordPress has a nasty habit of “losing” images from older posts). But my favorite quick-access spot is along Highway 72 between Nederland and Ward. At approximately mile marker 37 there’s a valley along the west side of the highway that puts on a good show.