People who leave their country to live in the USA often complain about certain things they terribly miss at home. It could be the food they are used to, the ease of life, or simply the comfort of talking to someone in their native language. If the reverse was to happen and I was to go back to India, one of the many things I would miss is the fall season I have grown to love and enjoy in the USA.
I have never really known what the season fall was like, until I moved to the USA five years ago. Incidentally, if you arrive on a student visa, chances are more than you will arrive during the beginning of the fall semester. This means a very colorful season would await you. I remember during my first fall in Seattle, I would go on drives with my friends, totally in awe of the lovely colors of red, orange, and yellow the leaves had become. “This place is so pretty!!”, I would excitedly exclaim, while my friends, already used to the season, would hold on to their excitement knowing that soon the leaves will all go and what will remain is the skeleton of the trees during winter.
The excitement of the fall season did not fade for me over the years. Fortunately, both Washington and Virginia have a rich display of fall colors. I hear that the southern parts of US like Florida and Texas do not have much of a fall season. However, the northern US is a different story. New England is world famous for its brilliant array of fall colors that attracts tourists from all over the globe. I have never had the opportunity to visit New England yet, and that is a photography trip high up in my priority list for the future. However, Virginia has its own share of fall foliage beauty, and a few road trips along the scenic Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park or the Blue Ridge Parkway is mandatory every year during the season. I have heard of many such scenic drives in Virginia, for example, the drive along the Wintergreen resort, along 20 north, the Greene County, or along 250 west. I wish I had more free time so that I could cover them all.
Fall season is significant to me for various reasons. It is reminiscent of the beginning of a new academic session every year. It is the season for celebration, with Durga Puja, Diwali, Halloween, and pumpkin carvings all happening during fall. It brings back happy memories of all the trips, long drives, and scenic photographic sessions I have done during the years. It reminds me of the fact that perhaps someday soon, I should visit the Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee and New England during fall. It brings back memories of the numerous hikes I have enjoyed, with long, winding roads and the colorful reflection of the leaves in water, reveling in the beauty of nature as I watched sunset after sunset in the mountains. It is the transition season between the heat and humidity in summer, and the harsh cold and snow of the winter. It is a season of great weather, of cool breezes, of moderate temperature, of barbeque parties, of the celebratory season, and of the brilliant display of colors before the leaves fall off, leaving behind grayness, cold weather, and the skeleton of trees. Most importantly, it is reminiscent of the passage of time, the change of seasons, the numerous things I look forward to in future, and the memories of numerous fun trips I carry with me over time.
P.S.: All the pictures have been taken in the state of Virginia, mostly in the Skyline Drive (Shenandoah National Park) ($10 or $15 weekly entry fee depending on the season, or $30 for an annual pass), Blue Ridge Parkway (free), and in the University of Virginia campus.