I had to go to the bank, the natural foods store, the unnatural grocery store, and the Post Office today. I may have mentioned it before, but no matter what day or time I do any banking I manage to get in line behind someone who wants to change drachmas to kroner and then into dinars, and someone else who wants to pay his electric bill with a third-party check signed over by a guy who was featured on America's Most Wanted as recently as last Thursday. To top it off, today I got the teller wearing the Trainee hat and she screwed up my simple deposit-cash back transaction so badly they had to reboot the entire system. It probably made the evening financial news. I didn't check.
Didn't matter, nor did the usual crowd of wandering geriatrics at the Post Office, though I'll be damned if I can figure out why the average customer age at that place is always 96 and the average driving speed in the parking lot and surrounding public thoroughfares is 12. It didn't matter because a) it was a beautiful day; b) we're at about 10-15% fall color this late, which is early perfection; and c) there's a notable drop in the number of SUVs on the road. Believe me, you drive a subcompact car, you can report on that accurately.
All I can figure is a lot of people had fuel efficient cars at home but chose to drive those suburban Panzers everywhere until recently for style points.
And the color, well, the big destination in Indiana for ooh-ing and ah-ing from the comfort of your own speeding vehicle is Brown County, which is about an hour or so south of here and a week or so later, color-wise, most years. Me, I'll head west to Shades and climb the ridge to look out over Sugar Creek if I need the full stereophonic experience, but a trip down the block to the church complex that still has the old farm field tree line around it is all the fix I need. One tree, or five, can be as stunning as two hundred.
Doghouse, you're right about the "one tree" matter. I've lived in the same house for nearly twenty years, and I now know which trees in my neighborhood turn color earlier than the rest. I look forward to it. As I come over the hill from Wisconsin Avenue now, there's a maple tree that's Day-Glo orange.
Even if I don't have the opportunity to go leaf-peeping the country, there are plenty of trees right here in town to admire.
After more than two decades in the East, fall foliage is still a big treat for me. I grew up in southern California, reading in MAD magazine about exotic-sounding things like thunderstorms, autumn leaves, and cracking the ice on puddles.
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