Reliving the Moment
Radiant RedVibrant autumn foliage can nearly always be found in this spot at Bear Notch. The season this image was made, however, the crimson leaves outdid themselves. Mount Washington, often cloud covered, is visible in the distance - entirely in the clear. (White Mountains, New Hampshire) I consider the autumn foliage display in New England to be one of the greatest shows on earth - and there's no place I'd rather enjoy the spectacle than in New Hampshire's White Mountains.
I'll never forget the first time I saw the tree-covered mountains painted in fiery colors. It was captivating; the immense beauty took my breath away. I found it difficult to focus on the task at hand - namely, keeping the car on the road! I'd never seen anything like it.
Even more special is the memory of my father's reaction to the "show" during his first early October visit to my new home. Trained as a landscape architect, this was a guy who appreciated nature. His delight at what he was experiencing was palpable; the "oohs" and "ahhs" didn't stop. Each new scene seemed to be more spectacularly beautiful to him than whatever had come before. I could appreciate what he was feeling.
For me there have been many lengthy autumnal excursions to the White Mountains since then, spanning more than 20 years. I've seen that landscape over and over again yet it never gets old. The days shorten, the leaves begin to turn, there's a chill in the air...and it's time to pack up the camera gear and head for my little slice of heaven on earth.
Each year when I catch my first glimpse of the mountains in all their October glory - exploding in bright oranges and yellows along with various fantastic shades of red you must see to believe - it's a deeply moving experience. It can bring tears to my eyes. And without fail, at that moment I also think of my father. I relive his first reaction.
The White Mountains grabbed onto my heart long ago and never let go. I feel a profound connection to this beautiful place.
Autumn in New Hampshire's north country means long workdays with the camera. There's always a lot of ground to cover and much to accomplish. Somehow, though, it doesn't feel like work.
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