Some years, an average snowpack leads to a warm, dry spring, then a long, hot summer that stretches into late September. When the days finally cool down and the night gets longer, the trees simply give up and lose their leaves.
But not this year. In January and February, snow in the valley was measured in feet, and the cold air froze it in place. Spring brought plenty of rain to meld with the snow runoff, and the water just kept coming. Summer was hot, but the switch to fall was flipped in a timely manner. The trees are celebrating by putting on a show. They appear to be kissed by the sun or painted in broad strokes, starting with the top or outermost leaves and bleeding in toward the trunk. It is glorious.
I took these photos on the 20th day of autumn. Since then, rain filled an entire day, and hard frost has seized the landscape. The leaves are starting to fall. Every glimpse, every day full of color feels like a blessing that will soon be lifted.