by Ariela Zucker
The lone red leaf on a soft mat of green that I detected this morning, is it a sign of fall?
"One swallow does not a summer make," (Aristotle), a voice inside me resists.
One red leaf does not herald a season just like one flake of snow is not a sign of a coming storm. I try to talk myself out of the winter coming predictions, but I know I am fooling no one.
The reds and the yellows are a sure sign that the seasons are changing, there is no denying it.
I look at the Goldenrods in my garden, now at the peak of their bloom, but my eyes are drawn to the top of the trees. Up there, I find the incriminating proof in the view of several branches that overnight turned a bronze-red.
"Just the weakest link," is always a good explanation. Young branches turn red first, so do sick ones, but those resistant and hardened will not change till the end of September.
Almost convinced, I walk in to pick up the motel phone to answer the question that in the following days will become more and more prevalent.
"So, when do you think it will be the best time to come see the leaves?"
The changing leaves, or as we call them, the fall foliage, are the big draw to our area in September and October.
Within a night my husband and I become the ones to consult with regarding leaves. People from all corners of the US and often Europe who plan their fall vacation in our motel depend on our recollections of past years foliage and the forecast for the coming season.
Just like the infamous New-England weather, known for its capricious nature, the foliage can fool even the best of nature enthusiasts.
People reminisce about the good years when the colors were so vibrant, they practically shimmered, and try to figure out the mysterious color quandary so they can predict the colors for the coming fall. The success rate is not very high, especially when the weather, in the last minute, decides to interfere, and a sudden storm knocks off all the leaves overnight.
Once September starts, we hold our breath and pray. For the weather to remain calm, for the winds to stir clear into the ocean. For the rain to hold on till the last leaf will land safely on the ground and for the sun to shine in a clear blue sky.
This, we discovered, is the real secret for the assurance of good colors.
Ariela Zucker was born in Israel. She and her husband left sixteen years ago and now reside in Ellsworth Maine where they run a Mom and Pop motel. This post originally appeared on her blog at Paper Dragon.