Madison Monday: the tour of trees

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There was a lot going on this weekend in Madison.  Many of the folks you might have seen wandering around the streets were checking out the Tri Kappa Tour of Homes, a chance to peek inside some of the amazing homes around Jefferson County.  On Saturday, Main St. closed down for Soup, Stew, Chili and Brew, the best soup by far in my humble opinion being the Indian cauliflower stew at the RiverRoots booth.  Up at the college we saw the debut of the historical drama, When Jenny Lind Came to Town, based on the visit of this famous 19th century singer along with P.T. Barnum to Madison in 1851.

fall leaves

All wonderful fall events, and the weather on Friday and Saturday was perfect.  The highs were in the 70s and the sun was shining.  On Sunday, things got a little cloudy, a little windy, a little rainy, and that’s when I decided to go out for a walk and experience one of my own favorite fall events in Madison, the turning of the leaves.

I have a friend who moved to back to the Midwest from California this year, and she was asking back in September how the leaves would be this year.  A dry summer often presages some lackluster fall foliage, and this was one of the driest summers on record in Indiana.  Sitting at the bar at the 605, a crowd of locals assured her that the leaves would be nothing to see this fall.  They would all turn an ugly brown.  They would fall off en masse before they ever turned.  Prepare to be disappointed.
autumn foliage
Well, perhaps this is not the most spectacular year for fall foliage, but just maybe that little streak of rain back in September saved us from complete disaster.  The trees in downtown Madison, at least, are still putting on a show.
I’m never sure if fall colors look best on sunny days or cloudy days.  Certainly, the bright sunshine allows the reds and yellows and oranges to shine.  But to me there’s something especially striking about the way a turning tree looks framed against a gray and cloudy sky.  With a very bright tree, it’s as if its leaves are their own source of light in the gloom.  My walk on Sunday allowed for both–trees in the clouds, trees in the sun, trees in the rain.
Of course there are the trees that line either side of the river valley down here in Madison, and those are the kinds of views for which many people travel to places like Vermont.  But there’s something to be said about the tree in town, framed against a beautiful old building or a landscaped bush.  These are the trees that put on their shows right outside our doors and windows, who drop their gorgeous leaves on the sidewalks at our feet, creating a carpet of art for us to walk on.  They’re the trees that peak out in the distance like something on fire.  They’re the old familiar trees, that given just the smallest bit of encouragement, faithfully put on a show for us every year.

For more images from my fall walk downtown, checkout You Think Too Much on Facebook, here.

Madison fall leaves

Madison fall leaves


Ohio River

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