I wasn’t born in New York. I am a migrant, and like many transplants I suffer from the perpetual sense that I should be somewhere else – a place that feels more like home. It’s still surprising for me to land in New York whenever I travel. It feels like it should be another stop on my itinerary, not my final destination. But not in the fall – autumn is a different story. New York is where I want to be.
There is no better place to be than The Northeast when the trees light up. Sugar maples are the first to announce cooler air and less humidity. They stand against a sky of polished glass. The hickories are also early. They insist on a single hue of bright yellow. After these early harbingers of change, all the trees soon release a progression of color that makes each day another adventure in sight. The Japanese maples are last, with the deepest reds, corals and pinks. For weeks, gusty winds toss the lazy grounded leaves up and swirl them back down and around in circles.
I never saw The Northeast in the fall until well after my college days in Southern California. Home was where the beach was. But at this time of year, home is a multihued landscape where the leaves float down and the backyard fire keeps my hands warm, where the days are a little shorter but the season stretches out and you don’t want to miss a minute of its gaudy display.