White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Autumn in New England, White Mountains, New Hampshire, USA

There are a limited number of special events around the world when nature reveals its breathtaking beauty. One of those events is Autumn in New England. The annual falling of the leaves and the associated explosion of colors is renowned worldwide and, some suggest, unrivaled as a natural spectacle. The peak of color occurs in a steady march from north to south in September and October.

New England is particularly beautiful because the variety of trees, the climate, and the dramatic mountainous terrain combine in such a special way. The leaves show their fiery reds, bright oranges, sunny yellows and deep browns, all punctuated with the contrasting green pines.  And if you are lucky enough to have a clear day with bright blue skies, the entire palette of nature spreads before your eyes in dazzling display - we were not so lucky - it rained like crazy for two straight days.

Why do the leaves change color? In fifteen words or less:  Because as the days get shorter the photosynthesis process can't make enough green chlorophyll.  Other factors like glucose levels in the leaves and the temperature play a part but I'm way over my fifteen words........

On this weekend in the beginning of October, the colors were at peak in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Even through the four inches of falling rain, the resulting rushing rivers and streams, and no visible sunshine, the beauty still shines through. For all our faults as a species, it bodes well that many thousands of people visit the woods this time of year for no reason other than to marvel at the sheer beauty of our world.

But at night it is time to go indoors.  I had joined a group of twelve photographers for the weekend visit to the White Mountains. We stayed in a big house with an intermittent internet connection. (OMG, how could we survive!). So we did what people used to do a generation ago - played a game together. That game is called “Taboo.”  It is a card game wherein a player working against the clock must make his/her team guess a word by giving clues about the word except certain obvious clue words can’t be used – they are taboo. For example, describe “milk” without using the words "drink, white, cow, dairy or calcium."  Challenging, yes - but I know from experience that saying, “bovine liquid” will help your team (or at least make them laugh).

The incessant rain on Sunday encouraged us to have a leisurely lunch at the stately and elegant Mt. Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods. This 110-year old grand hotel harkens back to another era. This very hotel was the site of the July 1944, United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference. Hundreds of delegates from Allied nations participated to reach a common plan, commonly called the Bretton Woods Accords, to regulate the international monetary and financial order after the conclusion of World War II.

You don't see porches like this on hotels built today.........

Nor do you see bas-relief crown moulding like this. This detail view is in the actual room where the Accords were signed in 1944.

Much like the Postal Service, neither rain nor snow nor gloom of night shall keep the photographers from their appointed rounds.

And the rain doesn't bother a hungry moose either. What do you suppose this young moose is thinking about with her vacant cow-like stare?

She's probably thinking that, "if I weren’t a plant-eater I bet those kids would be mighty tasty – and they are close enough to munch!"

Not deterred by the rain, this hiker seemed a bit out of place with an an umbrella instead of a raincoat. Time was a manly man could be mocked for such a choice……

But finally, the sun returned .......

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