Growing up in Wuhan in central part of China, I had only heard about “red leaves”, but never had seen them in person. Bright colored leaves can be seen only in the northern part of China. Although I had been to Beijing, which is in the north of China, several times by then, I had never been there at the right time for fall foliage.
The first time I have seen colorful fall foliage was in Rochester, NY. At the time, I was a graduate student just came to the US a couple of months earlier. Our department had a seminar retreat in early October. Everyone in the department stayed in a remote conference center located outside of city of Rochester for the weekend.
The leaves were very pretty on our way to the retreat. However, what impressed me most was how magnificent the colors were when we stood on top of the hill, looking down the valley. Bright yellow, orange, red colored leaves in different shades lit up in sunlight, filled the entire valley. Such brilliant and vibrant color almost brought tears in my eyes. I had no idea that leaves could turn into such amazing and dazzling colors! I stood on top of that hill, with a couple of graduate students, also just came from China that year, marveling about the wonder of nature.
Another thing struck me was, when I turned around, I noticed that not everyone was taken aback by the scenery as the few of us. In fact, most people, including the graduate students came a year earlier, didn’t even seem to aware of the beauty surrounding us. After all, leaves change color every year. It is something ordinary to most people. I wondered, at the time, whether such stunning nature would seem so indifferent to me later on.
Well, although the fall foliage doesn’t bring tears in my eyes any more, I am still in awe every time I see it. Not only I love the extraordinary colors as much I did many years ago, but also I know the fact that it doesn’t happen every day and not everyone who is fortunate to witness such splendor of nature.
PS. my photo website: http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/qing-yang.html