Saturday, November 05, 2005

Fall Foilage Fails Color Test


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

It is now official: this fall is one of the least colorful in the Northeast. I noticed this on my mountain, very drab. This has hurt many businesses up here.

From Yahoo:
The foliage that usually explodes in brilliant reds, yellows and orange across New England, drawing in thousands of tourists and their spending, was the dullest ever, she says.

Green leaves clung to trees weeks longer than normal. When they finally turned, gale-force winds and a week of torrential rain knocked many off their limbs. Vacationers that usually storm the state stayed away. Dark clouds blocked the sun.

The usual "killing" frost that snaps green pigment, or chlorophyll, from the leaves to turn forests into a mosaic of color arrived as much a month late in some areas.

That turned the foliage season -- a New England tradition that nurtures tourism and turns sleepy 18th-century homes into thriving inns -- into a faint shadow of its usual self.

"People never really came," said Beaudette, owner of the "Incurable Romantic," a gift shop she opened 18 years ago that suffered a 30-percent drop in sales this season. "Foliage began late and then it rained for days. It never really happened."
Well, it was all those hurricanes that did it. We were hit in several ways by that series of catastrophes! The drought was a dual affair: the sun spat some serious energy at us including x-rays and global warming screwed everything up. It was very hot and dry for several months, I had to suspend digging with the backhoe because the ground was too dry and the dirt I dug up was pure dust, hard to do things with! The trees struggled along, hammered by the heat and the sun. The leaves literally withering but remaining, turning a yellow/green. It is into November and some of my trees still have green leaves on them!

Here is a photo of the forest edge to the north:
Still looks pretty, right? Well, if you didn't see it in normal years! The orange/yellow leaves normally are a brilliant red and gold! The colors are very striking and this sickly version is a sign of unhappy trees.

It is still very pretty out here but the heavy floods did mess things up in many ways. The grass is still growing which is astonishing for this late in the year. Meanwhile, England is warning about a very cold winter. It won't be the first time a warm fall leads into a very cold winter! Of course, the Gulf Stream might keep us warm up here while not warming England. On the other hand, the weather is becoming increasingly unstable and prone to extremes, another sign of increasing energy within the ecosystem.
The view at sunrise is still awesome.

Time to rake some more brown leaves. Grumble.

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