It’s easy to love summer with its long, carefree and sunlit days. Who doesn’t like lobster devoured on a wharf plein air all washed down with cold beer? And when conditions are right (not wet and warm blehhh) winter is tough to beat for the wealth of recreational opportunities it affords. Nothing beats packing a day full of snow shoveling, skiing and fat biking, am I right? Of course Spring has a certain regenerative charm (no, slapping mosquitoes doesn’t count) once all the mud has subsided, but for pure enjoyment of living Fall is without question the king of the seasons. Especially because of foliaglow.
Don’t bother looking for a definition of foliaglow, it doesn’t exist. I made it up. And since it’s my word I can define it however I like. Part of me would like to be all mysterious and claim that it’s untranslatable from the original German, but if pressed I’d probably describe it to as “the incredible lightness of being that envelopes one upon entering a forest in Fall. See also: Eufolia” (yes, I made up another word – that gives me something to blog about later this winter when it’s 33 degrees and raining).
If you’ve ever walked into a forest on a crisp Autumn day and felt as if you were floating suspended by rays of light you know exactly what foliaglow is all about – no definition, real or imagined is required.
As far as I’m concerned those gaudy high mountain ranges can keep their snooty alpenglow. For those of us here on the east coast with our old, grumpy and thoroughly worn out mountains more often than not we’re surrounded by trees. We only have alpenglow in our Instagram feed. But luckily in northern climes come Fall, under certain lighting conditions the forests begin to literally glow.
All summer long the forest floor may have been a grimey tableau of hummocks pockmarked with the occasional mosquito infested bog, but as the forests dry out from the spring and summer rains the mosquitoes begin to dissipate (somewhat), the leaves begin to turn and the world smiles for a blessed few weeks. It might even get dusty, but even dust can be smile inducing.
Foliaglow begins gradually in the forest. At first it might go unnoticed, an alien force in the understory. Gradually it builds to a slight buzz in the high voltage wires of branches and stems that hint at the potential of what is to follow.
Soon it’s inescapable. Autumn ascends astride its chariot trailing foliaglow though the forest whenever the sun is shining. Screw the chariot, let’s say a biking god pulls it across the sky in a BOB trailer. The god with the quads.
Even moonlight of the proper intensity can set off the necessary chain of events to induce lunafoliaglow (really too complicated to define, perhaps more blog fodder for a night filled with dark and mysterious alcoholic beverages). It is the best of times. Perhaps for a vampire it is the worst of times.
Light – whether reflected, refracted or delivered via wave or particle – is alive with possibility. Immortality seems within reach. Politicians make sense. All of my sentence structure is correct. It slices, it dices and makes julienne fries golden and brown with each sunrise and sunset. Alpenglow eat your heart out.
Of course all good things must come to an end. After all, if Fall never ceased we’d never have a ski season <cold shudder>. The days shorten and the leaves begin to shrivel and fall. The woodstove groggily awakens and smokes with a yawn and a puff into the cold night sky. Late fall is still glorious, mind you, but the end is near.
With the advent of shorter days it’s time to embrace the darkness that lurks on the horizon. With one last look over the shoulder with headlamp attached, it’s time to leave the realm of foliaglow behind and ride off into the gloaming.
Fat bike season is right around the corner!