Pardon me a minute while I wax rhapsodic about foliage …
October is the best time to be alive in New York.
Flawless blue skies. That thick, low fog that floods the valleys and obscures the mountain tops. (I’m from the Midwest- yes, those are mountains.) Crisp mornings, warm afternoons and pleasant evenings that beg a backyard bonfire.
The autumnal change of leaves is always spectacular into the third week of October. Driving through the hills and farms- the landscape dotted with oranges browns and reds- takes my breath away. Have you ever driven 414 from Corning into Watkins Glen, where the lake and church spires and all the village come into view as you crest the hill and come into town? Yeah, you know.
But there’s another sight that sits in my heart at autumn in New York, and makes me daydream about cider and apples and Riesling and extra sharp cheddar cheeses. The tiny golden leaves that cling to the trees lining Market Street are a sure sign that fall is upon us- literally. They are in our hair, cars, businesses, shoes and homes.
They light up the red and grey brick of our storefronts and make the whole of Urban Corning glow for a very short, vivid time. And with a passing rain or a gust of wind, they shower down on red brick walkways. They are beautiful there, too, paving the streets with figurative gold.
I get it, I get. You’ll find people on their way to lunch brushing them from their sweaters or plucking them from their hair. They’ll get tramped indoors and under you car floor mats. But if you can’t appreciate these miniscule leafy jewels, you are grumpy and simply not trying hard enough.
They last such a short time, and you don’t have much time left to appreciate them! Most of them have already left the trees bare. Soon, the twinkle of white holiday lights will be turned on to replace them, creating a completely different magical Market Street glow.
I suggest you take a few minutes each day this month and appreciate just how glorious October in New York really is. To get the most out of your little yellow leaves, I suggest you kick through them, rather than step over them. Even better, scoop them up from the thresholds and throw handfuls at somebody you love as you walk down the Market Street. My son and I have done this during our first two autumns in Corning, and it’s the cheapest, most-looked-forward-to Crystal City tradition we’ve invented yet.
Don’t complain about the raking and the sweeping and the “mess” of autumn. We’ll be trudging through post-holiday slush sooner than any of us will like, and for longer than anyone wants.
*We are awarding 10 Goodie Points to whomever comments first with the correct species of these trees!