Flaming Leaves

When I was young I spent summers in Lake Placid, where my mom played in the Sinfonietta. Sometimes we would go back in the fall for a weekend to enjoy what was known in the Adirondacks as the month of flaming leaves, from mid September to mid October. It was almost always very cold, but my dad wandered enthusiastically to admire the autumn foliage even when we had to wade through snow that fell along with the leaves. I vividly remember one day we hiked through several forests as I took photos of the brilliant leaves reflected in an assortment of rivers and streams until sunset stole the colors away.
Like him I came to cherish the changes with each season. Not only the drama of the arrival and departure of leaves, but the first spring peeper calling from frozen swamps, and the last slow call of the crickets in autumn. Sometimes his sister joined us on these adventures. They would recall their own childhood nature hikes with my grandparents in the Adirondacks long before I was born.
Driving from North Carolina to Tennessee, I stopped to admire these beautiful trees fiery with color in the setting sun. The contours of mountains rose behind them, layers full of color stretching from their peaks down to the valleys. My dad has been gone many years now, but as I stopped to admire this view I realized that just as the leaves fall to shelter and nourish a new generation of trees, my father nurtured my love of nature, just as his father had done for him. So as I click the shutter, I take this photo to remember not only the trees, but also the people who have paused to admire them.