As the sun reflects the autumnal hues of falling foliage, we no longer take the endless days of summer for granted. Our appreciation of the sunlight grows as each day becomes shorter.
Like most natural resources, our conscious awareness of the sun increases in proportion to its scarcity. A whole sunny week is a nice thing. On the other hand, a bright, sunny day following a gloomy, rainy week−now that, my friend, is absolutely glorious!
The warmth of the autumn sun is more palpable in some way, too, and parallels the warm colors of the season. I find myself consciously glancing up to catch the sun’s rays more often in autumn, sometimes as they are cast through the trees.
This past October 15-17 we camped at Grindstone Campground in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. This is one of our favorite campsites, and it is somewhat of a tradition that we come here at least once almost every fall.
The elevation, about 3300′, and the climate here usher in a change in the foliage that is usually a few weeks ahead of the change in the towns and cities of the region.
We enjoyed fine fall colors, with the brilliant early reds and yellows across the mountains giving way to the finer and more subtle burgundies and golds of late fall. These are the archetypical colors of Southwest Virginia in autumn.
Our campsite was flooded with color each morning and afternoon. The long shadows added texture to the imagery.
One tall oak, larger than all the others, stood sentinel over our tent, leaves and branches rustling as the wind blew through the campsite all weekend.
The autumn sun and its accoutrements−the colors, the shadows, the warm daylight and accompanying cool, crisp nights−these things make fall my favorite season for camping.