Red alert

Autumn happens; the leaves go brown and fall off the trees; we absentmindedly kick through the crisp brown piles and put on our scarves.

If this all sounds a bit laidback to you – nay, even soppily passive – you may wish to take up the more active (and quite competitive) sport of leaf peeping.  There’s no time to waste.  Click on this alarming fall color chart:  already, three Wisconsin counties are PAST THEIR PEAK.

But don’t despair – with real-time updated charts like that one, and a schematic plan of the usual  annual trends, like this:

you can time your trip with precision and Get Those Yellow Leaves Ticked Off.

If you don’t want the hassle of leaving your house, even to go on a scenic drive from the comfort of your car, why not inspect the fall from afar by leafcam?  There is a numberless array, but this one in Maine actually has some golden trees in the picture.  (I must concede, I suppose, that leaf peeping is usually thought of as a New England, rather than a Midwestern, phenomenon.)

You might also want to read some more detailed rundowns on the conditions, like this one, posted on Saturday on The Foliage Network.

‘This is a great time to view the foliage in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin, where foliage color change is mostly high.  Foliage change in the southern half of Wisconsin is mostly moderate.  In the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, color change is moderate to the north and low to the south.  In Ohio, it is still early, with low color change being reported.

Leaf drop throughout the region is mostly low, with moderate leaf drop in northern Wisconsin and portions of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.’

Um.  I don’t want to play up the ‘sceptical’ in the blog title too much, but I have a nagging suspicion that the writer has taken a standard weather report template and replaced ‘temperature’ with ‘fall color’ with  ‘rainfall’ with ‘leaf drop’. Otherwise, wouldn’t you think he’d give you some specifics – what colours? Which trees?

I can’t help feeling that all this fuss takes the fun and serendipity out of an autumn walk.  But maybe in the age of infinite information, serendipity is already past its peak.

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About scepticalexpat

British 30something wannabe academic, moving to Chicago for three years in August 2010.
This entry was posted in Chicago and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Red alert

  1. Update: woohoo! Fox Chicago news has a TV foliage forecast nightly!

  2. Ruthie says:

    Hi! The first photo on the posting is wonderful. I’d like to use it in my blog where I teach about nature. I am writing on about why leaves change color in fall. Did you take this image? If so, would you kindly give me permission to use it for educational purposes? I hope so! Best wishes.

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