The autumn color change is underway in a few areas on Roundtop Mtn. In the lower, cooler spots along a stream or a run, gold and yellow leaves are beginning to be evident. Higher up, where I live, the trees are still green.
Some leaves, though not many, have already fallen, decorating the mountain lane with a bit of color. As yet, this is not enough to open up the leafy canopy and extend my visibility. Leaf fall is often a slow process, especially at the beginning. However, I’ve had nearly 6 months of studying every tiny hole in the canopy around my cabin, so by now I know it well and am ever vigilant for the slightest change.
I am at least 3 weeks away from the main leaf fall and probably longer. When I first moved to the cabin, some 20 years ago, the main leaf fall occurred in late October. But as climate change has progressed, it now happens in early November, once as late as November 11 but more reliably around November 5-7, at least for the last few years. Still, by late October the canopy is much opened again, just from the leaves that fall earlier than most of them.As the season progresses, leaf fall is lot like a continuous snow flurry, cascading off the trees to cover the forest floor until they are shin-deep in some places. On a day when many leaves drop, walking through the forest is a lot like walking in a falling snow. Falling leaves make a gentle rustling sound, best heard when surrounded by a forest. The effect is not the same with just one or a few trees. When the whole forest is “molting” the sound is similar to the sound of wind through the trees in summer, but with a drier tone. I love to walk through the forest and feel the leaves falling all around me, making that lovely fall sound. It’s best heard on a day without wind, but as long as the breeze is a mild one, I can still hear the leaves when they fall.