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I have been to the mountain, and I come back bearing news.
Despite the lifeless coloration of many trees here in Roane County, some places are beginning to see some of those reds, golds and oranges that make autumn so festive.
I had just about given up on the seasonal eye candy this year.
Most of the leaves on my big maple are muddy green and brown. The usual vibrant yellow is nowhere to be found.
The same is true of the red maple down the road.
There are hints of scarlet on what is left of its leaves, but most just turned a dull shade of brown and threw themselves — in shame, no doubt — to the ground.
It seems to be the most lifeless autumn in memory.
I guess that should come as no surprise. This year is the most confusing in terms of seasonal weather that I ever can recall.
Not necessarily bad — just weird.
On Sunday, on advice from a friend who probably got tired of my lamentations about the drabness, I got on my motorcycle and headed up Hwy. 127 to just north of Clarkrange. From there, I took Hwy. 85 west over Wilder Mountain.
What a day.
What a ride.
What a view.
Under clear, blue skies, I rode ridgetops and dropped into the gorges around the Obey (not to be confused with the Obed) River in Overton County.
The best part was I could see that Mother Nature was finally beginning to pick up her paint brush.
Some sweet gums and dogwoods were turning deep red, and hickory and beeches were showing some nice bronze tones.
The golds still seemed to be AWOL, but you take what you can get.
My mother just returned from the South Carolina coast early this week, and she said color was beginning to pop in the mountains around Interstate 40.
The recent cold snaps might be just the push we need to salvage what’s left of the leaf-peeping season.
I plan to get out again and seek whatever I can find of autumn’s grandeur this season.
I figure I have to.
Who know’s what winter will bring?