Although its mid-September in the Northern Rockies of NW Montana, we haven't experienced our usual early Fall cool-down. Instead the past few weeks have been dominated by unseasonal inland high pressure.
Our chilly nights, followed by unusually warm days have one benefit... We're experiencing early, very bright autumnal colour in our trees and shrubs.
My "Autumn Blaze" Maple began turning the third week of August, as have my "Burning Bushes".
Many trees in the area peaked a week ago, and now stand bare-branched, their leaves in a crumpled heap beneath them.
Other trees are slowly dropping their leaves... And as I drive down curving, country lanes, the fallen leaves swirl up in a wild dance, then gently come to a rest again.
On the downside, we're being inundated by a continual in-flow of smoke from nearby wildfires.
The smokey haze hangs in the mountains, and down to the valley floors. Some days, the smoke is so thick, it literally obscures the sun.
While the smoke is unpleasant, making breathing difficult for some, it's presence in the evenings have made for gorgeous sunsets with intensely saturated colours.
The forecast calls for another very warm, smoke-filled week. Beyond the weekend, I've read that models diverge greatly.
I can only hope that more seasonable weather will follow.
Until then, we'll continue to enjoy the sun-lit, dazzling, autumnal-jewels dangling from our trees. (09.17.2012) ¤¤¤
*** *** ***
"There are flowers enough in the summertime,
More flowers than I can remember—
But none with the purple, gold, and red
That dyes the flowers of September!"
–Mary Howitt (1799-1888)
"The morrow was a bright September morn,... There was nameless splendor everywhere-- That wild exhilaration in the air!"
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Autumn blaze in the garden. Columbia Falls,Montana