Sunday, November 17, 2013

Autumn arrives

Morning fog
This week it really feels like autumn has arrived in Southern California. Mornings are foggy, with a chill.

Deciduous trees are changing color. You don't think of this happening in Southern California, but there are are places where ruddy or golden foliage, while not as glorious as those in frost-kissed northern climates, brings that familiar feeling to the heart of a former Midwesterner like me. In our canyon, the native sycamores, or platanus racemosa, that grow along the creekside turn a subtle gold-tan, and soon drop, raising the startling white branches to the sky.

Grape leaves
 In the Valley north of us, in Woodland Hills, the streets are lined with tall, straight liquidambar trees - what I grew up calling "sweetgum" -  whose star-shaped leaves turn purply-crimson. The grapevines off our deck blaze scarlet.

This contrasts with the almost startling steely blue of new eucalyptus growth or the dark cedar foliage.

Today a dark cloud heavy with rain hangs over the canyon, and yesterday it looked even more menacing above the parking lot at the supermarket.

clouds over PCH
When I lived in the north, we'd call clouds like these "snow clouds" - and perhaps they are dropping snow on the San Gabriel mountains to the north. But when these heavy lowering masses are near the coast, they sometimes have a startling beauty, here lit by the setting sun on Pacific Coast Highway.

It's chilly in the morning when we walk, Jack and me.

It's sweater weather. It's time to make warming soups and stews. It's time to buy firewood again. It's autumn.

1 comment:

M. Bouffant said...

Autumn: Better late than never, right?

Except for Weds. (Thurs.? All a blur.) when we were close to 90°F (at least here in the inland banana belt) I'm inclined to agree that fall has beaten winter here, at least on the calendar. (Some yrs. it doesn't.)

I know I've been wearing pants more, even inside.