There is no question that the most beautiful time to visit New England is the fall. It is a challenge to describe the trees and the changing colors of the leaves. But people visit the New England states for that very reason, just to see the leaves. There is some urgency because you must get to the leaves before they drop to the ground. My favorite two states, Massachusetts and Vermont, have an abundance of colors that make you just pause and stare.

When I lived in Massachusetts, I was familiar with certain trees in my neighborhood, trees that framed my drive to work and trees that surrounded the building that I worked. I knew the “early risers”, those were the trees that changed colors before the other trees. Those were the high achievers. There were trees that the sun loved and they seemed to have a spotlight on them. Their colors were sharper and brighter, like they were chosen to shine. But the trees that I remember the most fondly are the ones that surrounded the library where I worked. I would stand at a tall window and just gaze at the beauty in front of me. When I was stressed or just in need of  a break, the window is where I went to remind me that all was well in the world. The reds, yellows, oranges, greens and browns were all waving at me from their post.

I have been asked many times if The Netherlands has four seasons…do the Dutch have the fall that New England does? Yes, there are four seasons here, but they are not like the seasons in Massachusetts. Basically, the seasons are all milder than in the NE states. The winters are not as cold or snowy (a lot less drama), the spring has flowers blooming and lots of showers, the summers are not too hot or humid, and autumn can be beautiful, but it does not have the wow factor of what I used to know. For one thing, this country is completely, 100%, totally FLAT. There are no mountains or hills full of trees. There are trees and the leaves do change colors and then fall to the ground. But there are two big differences from here and there:  the colors are not as dramatic and there are less trees. The Netherlands is a very green country, no matter where you live you are minutes away from a farm and wide open spaces of grass, water and livestock. And there are forests and woods here with lots of trees, but as you drive around you would easily say “this sure isn’t Vermont.”

Today is grey and rainy. There is not a large amount of rain here, but it is frequent. You can wake up to a gorgeous blue sky and it will rain at noon and then be beautiful all over again within a few hours. Or it can be like today, where it will get gloomier as the day goes on. I think that this is a country that cannot make up its mind. Is it going to be rainy or sunny? Do not assume anything here, because as soon as you fold up the umbrella, you will need to pop it open again. The leaves have not changed yet, but they will and then they will drop. In America, raking leaves is like a part time job for homeowners, as it is very time consuming. It is common to see people raking their yards and putting out bags and bags of leaves to be picked up by the city. Or to smell the leaves being burned in someone’s backyard.

What this tells me is that each country has their gifts and that the glory of nature comes in many forms. New England has its mountains and leaves and The Netherlands has sloten and dikes… tulips that blanket the green. And the skies that I love so much. As in Massachusetts, fall is apple season. Here, there are apple orchards and many apple pies are being made. In just this week, things have already changed. Jackets are being worn, the sleeves are a little longer and a hot cup of tea becomes an essential part of the day. You hold that cup in your hands and say “it sure is nippy today.”

There is beauty all around the world…you all know that. But at this time of year, I remember what was my familiar and hold on to the new views in my life. It is all good.

Recommended reading: TIGERS IN RED WEATHER by Liza Klaussmann. Good family drama and, as they say, a real page turner. 

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  • Valerie {all mussed up}  On September 24, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    After living here for three years, I have yet to adjust to the bipolar weather — I’m always caught either with too little or too much gear, too cold or too hot. Onhandig! (:

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