|Sunset on a perfectly clear evening|
The view to the north from my cabin is now about 50% open. I can see the sky and at night I can see stars through the canopy. In summer, my view of the sky is nothing more than pinpricks of light between a very few holes in the leaves. To the south, the direction that is most closed in during summer, the view of the open sky is less than to the north, though I can already see the curve of the top of Nell’s Hill. So the leaves are falling already and in pretty good numbers.
The leaves that are left don’t show much sign of color and when they do that color is mostly brown or a sick-looking, dull green. I’ve been trying to remember if I’ve noticed similar drying and leaf drop in other autumns before the leaves turned color, and my best answer is that I haven’t.
Summer, as anyone who lives in the east coast of the U.S. will remember, was very hot and dry, but then by mid-August the temperature moderated and the weather often turned rainy and overcast. When that happened the trees and the forest started looking more normal again, and some of the plants that started to wither in the July heat regained a more robust shade of green. The water table was replenished, and I thought the effects of the heat wave were over. I guess not.
With the number of leaves that are already down and the sad appearance of the ones that remain, I’m not expecting much from the fall color change here on Roundtop. I hope I’m wrong.