Maureen Larkin Wright - Welcome to My Little Corner of Virginia

Early November

Hello Family,

Last week was the peak week of Autumn in my little corner of the world.

We, in Amelia, don't get the bright yellows of my brother's beloved western aspens. Absolutely nothing can compare to the aspens' brilliant gold leaves set so vividly against the evergreens indigenous to that area. And Dan's Adirondacks in upstate New York in the autumn are in a category all to themselves. Well, perhaps high in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains the colors are equal to those of the Adirondacks, but I haven't been there for many years and don't remember. And I'm sure Dan would deny any comparison.

The word Autumn always brings images of Vermont. No place in this country produces such outrageously beautiful colors as the Green Mountains of Vermont. New Hampshire might argue with that, and while their White Mountains also are particularly splendid in the autumn, Vermont still is number one for spectacular autumn foliage.

My area is in the flatlands of western Amelia County in east central Virginia, and only the occasional tree is remarkably brilliant. We don't have large clusters of vividly colored trees. We have color, yes, but nothing spectacular except in an unusual way.

What we do have is this overwhelmingly peaceful melding and merging of the softer colors of autumn. The colors now are almost pastel as the muted reds and oranges and yellows of the leaves blend together. There are relatively long stretches of narrow, winding roads in my area which are canopied with these exquisitely gentle colors, where the tree branches arc across the roads. My senses sometimes are almost overwhelmed when rounding a curve and encountering this breathtaking loveliness.

When approaching and driving through these tunnels, I am tempted to stop right there in the middle of the road to immerse myself in its mystical beauty. Parking along the side of the road distorts the visual balance a little but is considerably safer than stopping in the middle of the road. So I pull off.

There is a quiet elegance, a simple sophistication in our pastel autumn. There is serenity and harmony. There is an overwhelming sense of rightness and order...of peace and tranquility. The feeling of grace is pervasive.

And if you are quiet and listen very, very carefully, you might even hear nature breathing a special hymn.

Goodnight, and love to everyone,
Aunt Maureen
November 6, 2011