I was answering an email from my Mom in Iowa last night. She mentioned that the leaves there are past their fall beauty and that many are already on the ground.
That got me thinking about my area of the world, and that I needed to capture in words my impressions of this, my first Autumn season of change and color here in “my mountains” of the Mo Valley while it is still new to me.
When we came home from Italy on September 20th I was amazed at how quickly the fall colors had arrived and changed my landscape. The three weeks away had brought out the colors in the tree leaves, and I thought that, since I live so much further north now, it would be over quickly. But in my walks and drives in the valley and to my Norwegian classes an hour away, I can still see the colors of the season.
This morning, over a month after my first observation of Norway’s Fall season, Jan and I sat drinking our coffee while looking out the window. My email conversation with my Mom was on my mind, and I realized that there are really TWO seasons visible in the small space framed by my bedroom window. We’ve had wind and rain that have stripped many of the trees of their leaves, but there are still a few vivid yellows to be seen. Yes we are also past our peak overall, but living on the side of a mountain is much different compared to living in a more flat landscape. From our bedroom window I can see that about 100 yards up the mountain from those vivid yellows the trees are bare and they look lonely. And, in other higher mountains surrounding our valley, further up above the tree line the Autumn colors of September are gone, and it is early Winter.
This past Saturday – again while drinking coffee and looking at the mountains, our favorite time of the day together – Jan and I could see that snow was falling at the tops of the higher mountains. And so we did what any normal crazy people would do – we drove up to see that new dusting of snow at 1200 meters (about 3/4 of a very steep and twisting mile). (Edit – after reading this, Jan made the comment that normal crazy Norwegians would certainly not DRIVE up there, they’d go hiking …) By the time we went it was a little above freezing up there, so any new snow and the snow from a few days earlier was starting to disappear. The fog was moving in …
… and it was beautiful in a lonely way – many muted AND vivid shades of gray, tan, brown, and green.
There were icicles that were melting and falling. They were cold and crystal clear – you can drink the water in the mountains, it is so pure. MacKenzie was very curious about the melted water slithering underneath the ice, and enjoyed crunching on those that had fallen onto the gravel road. It was so silent and still, the sounds of her chewing were unnaturally loud and seemed an intrusion. The melting water under the icicles, on the other hand, was soothing and peaceful. Some of the icicles were on the mountain rocks, and some were over green moss – the effect was sparkling, even with the fog and no sunshine.
All of our senses come alive in such an environment!
From down in our valley, we could see the streaks of snow were gone by Sunday. And so I can see Winter arriving, then receding, all while I am experiencing Fall … and I keep observing and marveling.
As with most views and experiences in my new life, it is difficult to describe AND pictures don’t do it real justice. But the combination of “the sunny side of the mountain vs. the shady side” and “further up the mountain vs. down closer to the valley” creates an interesting topography of every aspect of the Autumn and Winter season, all at one time.
And it is another fascinating, surreal moment for this American girl who continues to fall in love with her new country.