There are the brilliant reds and oranges of New England sugar maples. The quaking stands of vibrant gold aspens in the Rockies. The glowing yellow larches in the North Cascades and up through British Columbia… But when I think of autumn in the maritime Northwest, it is defined by one color: gray.
Sure, we have our vine maples here and there, and bigleaf maples can light up patches of the woods, but for the most part, the bright colors you see around town this time of year are alien ornamentals, brought from distant lands. So gray it is. I don’t mind, though. Perhaps because I grew up on the west (wet) side of the Northwest, it’s actually comforting to me, and a welcome change from the heat and blue skies of summer. Time to stoke up the woodstove. Start cooking stews and soups and big pots of chile verde. Drag out the down comforters. Gray is good.
Of course, check back with me in March, and I will probably be singing a different tune. For now, though, it seems perfect.