Garden Diary - October 2011

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Sunday, 18 October 2011
Up, Up, and Away

I got an e-mail from Barry yesterday evening. He's planning to go flying tomorrow morning, to look at the turning trees and their autumn color. Did Paul and I want to come along? You betcha! Much more interesting, Paul allowed, than working on firewood as had been his plan. Our interest in joining him confirmed, Barry said he'd call with a go / no-go status report in the morning. Small planes are much more at the mercy of the weather. Too windy, and no one would enjoy the flight as we bounce around. Lucky us, the weather was good and we'll be going up, up, and away.

One option is to stay more or less close to home base and look at the trees turning on the hills. Or, we could fly a triangle - over to the Hudson River, follow the river to New York City, then along the Jersey shore and cut back inland to the airport. So that's what we did.

It's lovely to see the landscape from above. Small airplanes are the best, I've decided. You are flying
high enough to gain perspective, while low enough to see details. The photography is a little tricky
however, as the aircraft is moving along briskly enough that there's no time to compose a shot. Just
take the picture, take lots of pictures, and plan on discarding the majority of them as to poor to share.

The good ones can be quite interesting. I'm not sure what this place might be. Too many fields for a farm,
and the proportions are odd. A nursery? But why then, can't I see and neat and tidy rows of plants.
And the color is wrong. Black soils are something I would expect to see in the Midwest, not New Jersey.
Interesting geometry, tessellated tiling pattern. Humankind imposing our designs on the patterns of nature.

Always important to pay attention, especially in a small airplane as we approach the Hudson River.
Stay to the right going down river to the city and the sea, left flying inland. Elevation also regulated.

All the little sailboats at anchor on the Jersey side of the Hudson River.

Graceful curve of the Tappan Zee Bridge. I've driven across many, many times. Different point of view.

Midmorning light on the cityscape. It looks like a supersaturated solution where adding a seeding crystal
triggers the precipitation of instant growth. People live here, many, many, many people. Count me out.
I did live in Brooklyn as a teenager. But I'm spoiled. I like space around me. A student was visiting once
and just before going home to the city she asked if I didn't feel apprehensive living here. My answer to her
was no, I'm fine living here. Living with people above, below, on all sides - now that would be scary.

Manhattan and the Empire State Building. If the Twin Towers still stood we'd be flying lower than the roof.

Along the shore, then turn inland. Over farm fields belonging to The Garden State. Farmville, anyone?

Closer to the heat sink of the city trees were still mostly green, showing little color. Not yet peak here.
But it is clear that the somewhat faded green foliage of summer's end still holds its anthocyanins and
carotenes that color the landscape in fall. More colorful than trees full of flowers - the blazing glory of
autumn foliage colors in the trees and shrubs of eastern North America. Warm sunny days followed by
cool nights, sufficient rain - and trees and shrubs with the potential to burn with scarlet, orange, red at this
time of year fire up the landscape. No wonder leaf peepers travel north to enjoy this spectacle of nature.

No pun intended, time just flew by. Over two hours spent flying up, up, and away. Barry, thank you.

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