I drove into a late autumn this weekend, following a two-lane road over ridges, through valleys, rising steadily higher and always further north. Time passed around me.
As miles rolled away beneath us, the brilliant foliage of home lessened, leaving the ground covered deep with crisp leaves and the branches often bare between tall pines. Leaves that remained clung tight, reds mostly replaced with gold and brown. Smoke rose from leaf piles. The sky took on a brightness that comes with cold, and just a cloud passing over the sun made the landscape look like winter, not October: beautiful, still, but with a harshness.
And then coming back down, back south, just an hour and a half, and the trees are still thick with bright leaves and only the first have fallen.
Strange how just a couple hours makes all the difference.