Carolina: Cruising Past 70: Which Season Do You Like to Travel to More: Desert Spring or Northeast Fall?

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Which Season Do You Like to Travel to More: Desert Spring or Northeast Fall?


Fall has come!  Media, mainstream or social, is now flooded with pictures and videos of trees and shrubs that have turned bright red, orange, yellow, and gold. You are probably all saying your Oooohs and Aaaahs, whether you are in a place where you can see them in person or not. Sometimes I wish I could live in such a place if only I don’t have to face the winters that come after. Fall used to be my favorite season of all, hands down. I had a maple tree behind my townhome in Seattle that I have missed so.

Japanese red maple

The Red Maple is a deciduous tree common in the Northeast. The leaves turn bright yellow or orange or brilliant scarlet or maroon. I love those trees whose leaves become different colors but individual trees in single color leaves can also dazzle especially if they are beside trees of contrasting colors.  The sugar maple is the best one of all. It forms a complete color wheel, in several shades of green, then in the fall turning from yellow to orange to red. Sadly, all these beautiful leaves fall when winter comes.

Autumnal Aspens in Alaska 

Farther north of the Northern Hemisphere, fall foliage is completely yellow. Aspens are a regular feature in those more northern areas. They also appear farther up in the southern hemisphere at high-altitude areas such as mountains or high plains. Aspen leaves are monochromatic and they all turn yellow. That is I why I love fall in Alaska and the Rockies even more. You see, I am a true xanthophile!

wildflowers in bloom during springtime

paloverdes in Phoenix
When we settled in the Phoenix area, I thought I would only be seeing drab colors; until I saw the wildflowers that painted the desert floor in the whole spectrum when springtime comes. But that is not what really surprised me. I reasoned that I still prefer Fall in the Northeast because the color swatches are huge because they are splashed on to trees! Well, imagine my delight when I saw that the desert trees called paloverdes, which means green wood or stick in Spanish, are green most of the year. But when spring comes around, little yellow blossoms sprout, many times even covering the whole tree crown.

There are two varieties and they bloom at separate times so the golden blaze stays around for two months, from mid-March to mid-May, The Foothill paloverde has more yellowish bark and duller yellow flowers. Blue paloverdes have twigs, young branches, and leaves that are bluish-green and flowers that are bordering on orange. In our neck of the woods, both species are everywhere: parking places, freeway banks, public and private gardens, and other public places.

blue paloverde blossoms

The first to bloom are the Blue paloverdes, with the Foothills following after about two to three weeks later. Their flowers are both five-petalled with the banner petal standing out above the plane of the other four. In Blues, the banner petal is yellow, sometimes with orange spots. The Foothills’ banner petal is white. Once these flowers are pollinated, they will produce edible beans. 

foothill paloverdes bloom

And that is the main difference between Spring and Fall. Spring signals the beginning of new life.  Fall, on the other hand, signals the end; the leaves fall and the tree goes to sleep. I think I now love desert spring more. So I make it a point to be home from my travels in April. It’s as if the sun unloads ts energy, lends its rays on everything it touches, and the color yellow permeates the whole scene. I chose the right place to be home. So my favorite place to travel to is wherever Fall blazes. Right now I am in Bavarian Germany which is in the middle of the season.

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