On the week-end of November 10, 2019, in search of fall colors, I drove to a small park called Beaman Park, about 15 miles northwest from downtown Nashville, Tennessee. It covers 1,678 acres of natural areas, mostly ridges and hollows.
The Nature Center has a back patio (pictured in the heading) and a boardwalk. Rocking chairs are provided so you can observe the steep wooded hills below. It was a sunny Saturday afternoon, a bit cool - low 50s F (11 C.) I encountered no one on the patio or on the boardwalk.
I sat in one of the rockers for a while. The deck is perched high above the forest floor as Beaman Park is located on the edge of the Western Highland Rim.
I drove to another area of the park, to the trail heads. There are three hiking trails, one of them following an old logging road with rugged hills and a shallow stream. It was getting late afternoon - lots of shade. The colors of the leaves were not very bright, though. (Please click on collage to enlarge.)
The following week, on Sunday 12 November, 2019, I drove south to Georgia. I usually exit the freeway, I-75, at the Red Top Mountain Road exit. Then it is about 8 miles to my house. But if you turn left from the exit and cross a little bridge over Lake Allatoona, it is only a mile to the entrance of Red Top Mountain State Park. Since it was warm and about 3:30 pm I decided to try my luck at fall foliage there. My late husband and I often visited the park and I showed photos of it in several posts - here is a post from 2013: "Fall color at Lake Allatoona
". Then I drove up the hill to the park.
I parked by the Visitors' Center and petted a friendly dog near a bench. Then I walked up a small trail. Many dead leaves and branches. As soon as there is a clearing though, pine trees grow like weeds in Georgia, and they are ever so green! The fall colors were not as vivid as in prior years - could be because of the drought or the early frost, or a bit late in the season.
The sun was about gone and in this wooded area the colors were subdued. I sat on a nice round rock and thought for a while. Am not sure what about but I'll find some "thought" to write below.
"Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn
." - Elizabeth Lawrence,1904-1985, garden writer.
On Monday the weather was quite pleasant again, full sun and 66 F (18.8C.) Driving to the grocery store I decided to drive the extra mile to one of the Cobb County Parks. The entrance was promising with intense red trees along the road.
Unfortunately by the time I arrived at the lake it looked like the promise from the entrance had not been kept. The lake was deserted, peaceful and placid but did not show much fall color.
Walking on the trail near the lake, I saw more pine trees and several little bushes with colored leaves. The leaves from the couple of large trees there looked as though they had been burnt by the sun then frozen in place by the early frost. The color palette was more in the shades of brown: tawny, caramel, russet, cinnamon and gingerbread than gold.
I gave up looking for golden foliage and sat on the bench close to a small stream running into the lake, and recalled..."Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts
." Rachel Carson, 1904-1967, American conservationist.
That evening, I did find color; the colors of the sunset behind my neighbor's pine trees.
But I did not give up. I had visited a state park, a county park and now with the sun still shining brightly I decided to drive to a city park. The Roswell Old Mill Park is not far. Vickery Creek waterfall, near the ruins of the mill, pours from a historic spillway dam and is gorgeous in any season. The creek is a Chattahoochee River tributary. The waterfall is not visible from the entrance to the park and is not advertized. There are few visitors during mid-week. I walked along the creek loving the rustling sounds of the water as it rushes over the rocks.
Once by the waterfall I sat on a huge rock and just listened to the appeasing sounds of the falling water. It had not been an easy walk along the stony trail and I was pleased to sit for a while. There was no one around - a good place for meditation. I thought about a quotation from Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the francophone Swiss philosopher: “Jamais je n'ai tant pensé, tant existé, tant vécu,
tant été moi, si j'ose ainsi dire, que dans les voyages que j'ai fait seul et à
/Never did I think so much, existed so vividly, and experienced so much, never have I been so much myself, so to speak, as in the journeys I have taken alone and on foot." Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 1712-1778, Philosopher.
The next few days I had to forget my search for fall foliage color and concentrate on keeping clearing out the house. Although, the sun was still shining and I happened to look out through the screen of the kitchen window. My backyard is on its way to becoming a true jungle forest now that my husband is not there to trim the English ivy vines. Still, it looked like there was some rich fall color there.
The temptation to step outside was too strong - so I went out and took more photos...even walking closer to the lake in the back.
It was time now to get ready to drive back to Nashville where the fall foliage is not in its full glory any longer but where the temperature is cooler and more like fall.
"Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.
" F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1896-1940, American writer
Now I'll end with my best and sincere greetings to each of you for a very Happy Thanksgiving!