If you’ve noticed, as have I, that the fall colors seem a bit drab this year you are probably right.
Those in the know (translation: the websites I’ve checked) blame it on the hot, dry weather near the end of summer.
A year ago, it was the opposite. The experts said a rainy summer would contribute to a fall of exceedingly brilliant foliage and, if you recall, they were right.
Still, I cannot take my eyes off the explosion of color all along my commute to and from Luzerne County Community College in Nanticoke. I would go as far as to say, in fact, that the route is as lovely any in the Northeast, especially along South Main Street in Hanover all the way to Nanticoke, a stretch commonly known as Middle Road.
But the show starts earlier.
Ever since it became nearly impossible to get onto Interstate 81 in Pittston Township (if you must use that entrance ramp during the current never-ending construction project, you know exactly what I mean), I have taken a slightly longer but decidedly less stressful route to the college. It takes me down the Pittston By-Pass, through Inkerman and Plains, into Wilkes-Barre and eventually to the aforementioned Middle Road.
Even on the By-Pass I find myself with one eye on the road and the other on the trees. And the array that greets me in Inkerman, just as I pass the entrance to Wesley Village, is spectacular. But the best is yet to come.
I’ve actually pulled over to the shoulder near Wyoming Valley Country Club to better appreciate the fall display and as I roll along the final few miles to the college, I gladly obey the 25 mph speed limit because it affords me the opportunity to look off to my left, over the rooftops of the houses, and bask in the glory of mother nature.
Then there’s the college itself.
Thursday morning, I drove down to the baseball field, parked my car, and strolled around, the wet grass soaking my shoes and the bright colors lifting my spirits. What a way to start the day.
“The perception of beauty,” Henry David Thoreau said, “is a moral obligation.”
At this time of year, it’s hard not to oblige.