A riot to the senses

Susan is giving us a quick getaway to New England, where the colors are a joy to behold. Photo sent by Susan, taken in New Hampshire, October 2015

Susan is giving us a quick getaway to New England, where the colors are a joy to behold.
She took this lovely photo in New Hampshire, October 2015

“October proved a riot a riot to the senses and climaxed those giddy last weeks before Halloween.”Keith Donohue

Blogs are a wonderful way to connect to people all over the world, and today’s photo is one example of the fun that can result.  As I write this, we aren’t yet having riots of color here in Virginia, though there are hints that the best is yet to come.

However, New England is legendary for its fall foliage, and Susan sends us a stunning example that she was kind enough to let me share here.  I cropped it a bit so it would fit in the blog format, but otherwise it’s untouched by any digital enhancement.  No wonder autumn in New Hampshire is so famous!

If your brightest colors are likely to come a few days later than Halloween (or, in the southern hemisphere, six months later) I hope you will enjoy this lovely lakeside scene today.  Let’s have a virtual party right where Susan took this photo.  Just imagine there’s a ginormous picnic table behind us, loaded with festive snacks.  Do I smell a campfire and hot dogs roasting? Pour me some hot cider from that thermos and fill me in on what’s happening in your neck of the woods.


  1. Ann

    What a beautiful spot. Think i’ll have a toasted marshmallow (using a straightened out coat hanger with the marshmallow stuck on the end)😀

    • Ah yes, the old straightened out coat hanger as skewer…imagine today’s kids trying to do that with the plastic hangers we use now. I remember how the marshmallow goo would stick to the end of the hanger, which was always sort of curlicue from being wrapped around the neck of the hanger. There was also the challenge of keeping them from dropping into the fire, or catching fire (though some people seemed to like them that way, dark crispy outside and melted inside…) — pass the Hershey Bars and graham crackers!

  2. Nature is a gifted artist… <D

    • So true!

  3. bobmielke

    Having recently relocated to New England I can attest the beauty captured in your friend’s photo. It’s overwhelming at time no matter where you are. Although not up to their normal long lasting brilliance due to a very hot summer they still showed their colors proudly for a two week period.

    • I’m so happy you got there just in time for the show! I need to dash over to your blog and see if you have any photos posted. I’m glad you are enjoying your new home.

  4. Search also: ” A running flame” it is not as dramatic, but it is almost my back yard.

    • Eric, I remember that gorgeous reflected view that you allowed me to use in this post. It’s fortunate to live adjacent to such views. I wonder whether it ever reminds you of the “lake” (when Jeff first saw it he said “that’s a pond, not a lake”) in the woods right behind our back yard when we were kids? I have so many funny and happy memories of that place, which always seemed a bit magical to me, even when Mitch was around making his wisecracks.

      • Yes, it does! Like many bittersweet memories conjured by your blog, Mitch is an integral part of all that is “the lake”, in my memory. Did you ever hear that after a 25 year separation, I arrived as a solo muzzle-loading hunter on one of Georgia’s barrier islands. The first human I encountered, came walking up and asked, “Hey Eric, do you have a portable table?” I almost fell on the ground, laughing – it was like he had seen me YESTERDAY.

        • I think you did tell me that story, but I had forgotten it. The one I will never forget is the backyard camping story (“escaped convicts in the Washington Manor area”). Despite his seemingly endless pranks, I remember Mitch more fondly than I do either of his two siblings. I loved how he would come over every Christmas morning to show us what he got, even when he was grown. And I remember when he and Mama got together to compare coin collections; he had a big Dopp Kit full of coins, and he let me fill in my own mostly-empty collection folders with whatever I found in his bag. I remember watching him and Walt tinker endlessly with their cars (wasn’t one of them a Jaguar and one a red Mercedes convertable? the noise of their engines as they worked would sometimes keep me awake at night). I remember watching him build that kayak, and seeing him use a razor blade to prepare a hide for tanning, and hearing him play the piano (Jessie told me he could play better than either Ruth or Matt, though I only once heard him play). He was definitely a memorable character. If Mark Twain had known Mitch, he would have written him into a novel.

  5. That is a breathtaking view!!! We don’t get fall like that here in the Pacific NW. We get green! Our rains start and everything comes alive. I could sit there with a campfire, s’mores and a mug of chili with a little brandy in my cocoa. To warm me up of course. Beautiful. Have a lovely weekend ahead.

    • Marlene, I love the Western version of autumn, too, because I was so enchanted by those springtime green hills in central and northern CA. I imagine it’s even more spectacular in the Northwest. That emerald color is dazzling. What I loved best about autumn on the west coast is that it never (well, almost never) got REALLY cold, so you didn’t have to dread the hard winter. Just chilly enough to be nice and cozy. Hope you have a wonderful weekend too!

  6. Give thanks for Autumn! In the photo, it’s as though the water doubles our pleasure by seeing the reflection of such beautiful foliage. Campfire and hotdogs seem like the perfect Willow Tree agenda, tomorrow. We have marsh grasses that are turning from their usual green to a more golden hue. That’s our signal to expect cooler temps soon. Thanks to Susan for sharing her photograph by way of Defeat Despair. Hot cider sounds mighty fine!

    • Sheila, Willow Tree must be perfect all around at this time of year. Fires, foliage, friends, fellowship, festivity! I’ll be toasting you with a hot mug of spiced tea, if not cider — although Trader Joe’s makes a wonderful cider that they only sell at this season. Have a fabulous weekend!

  7. What a stunning vista! I’m so glad Susan let you share this with us today.

    • Yes, I was so happy she was willing to share it with us. Thanks Susan!

  8. Carolyn

    Boy does roasted hot dogs and apple cider sound great.i have wanted to use our fire pit but we have been under a no burn band. We are suppose to get some rain this week end . We need it! I am doing okay,went to my doctor last Friday and I will be having more therapy. My arm movements are much better but not back like it should be. I do therapy two days a week and then at home three times a day . I stay busy! Hope you all are well. Sending hugs and love to you all.

    • Carolyn, I hope the therapy is getting easier by now. I know those first few weeks were really hard for Matt. I also hope you get some rain soon, so you can enjoy your outdoor fire while the weather is still perfect for it. I had a hot dog today, as it happens, but it was indoors and NOT cooked over a fire…kind of loses some of the appeal that way. Typically I only eat them at cook outs or baseball games. 😀 Have a great weekend!

  9. Julia,
    That picture is quite similar to what I see right now outside my window here in Ct.
    Have a dog for me.

    • Alan, Lucky You! and speaking of lucky, we have a veritable pack of dogs here at Defeat Despair, and they’re all invited to the cookout. They have heard how I tend to “accidentally” drop lots of food when I’m cooking out. So I won’t have any trouble convincing them to show up. 😀 😀 😀

  10. Heba

    Absolutely spectacular!
    I love natural scenery and I’m enjoying some views of colorful fall trees here in Rochester MN, as we moved here from Egypt since the start of October.

    Thanks for Susan and thank you Julia for sharing this with us. 🙂

    • Heba, I’m so glad you are getting some fall foliage there in Rochester. May the beauty of autumn help temper the homesickness you must be feeling. What is this time of year like in Egypt? I imagine it being hot all the time there, but of course that’s only from seeing so many photos of the pyramids and the deserts. I hope you will have a wonderful season and will enjoy your new home! Thanks for being here with us.

      • Heba

        Thanks for your kind wishes! ^_^

        The weather is very much changing from what we used to have when I was a kid. It is now warm and humid indeed in Egypt most of the year, the hottest months being July & August with temperatures reaching 48 degrees Celsius!
        Winters are short and bearable. Rainy & windy in the northern coasts like in Alexandria.
        I know that most people visualize Egypt as camels, pyramids and the desert as they show in most movies and photos 🙂 But that’s only a glimpse of what’s there. The Red sea, the Mediterranean, the River Nile, Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada, Luxor, Aswan and a lot more!
        Maybe I could send you some of my own photos if you would like so 🙂

        Thanks for having me! ❤ ^_^

        • Heba, it seems the weather is getting more extreme in many places. 48 Celsius! WOW, and I thought Texas was bad! It’s even worse when it is also humid. Yes, I think most of us who have never visited Egypt (and even some of us who have) probably have a very limited idea of what it’s like there. We would love to see some of your photos! I remember when we lived in Hawaii, many of the residents there had never seen any part of the US mainland except Las Vegas. That was because there were inexpensive flights and hotels there, so when they could afford to go, they would always end up going back to Las Vegas. But I would always tell them “Please don’t think ALL of the mainland is like Las Vegas!” I disliked the tourist areas of Las Vegas intensely the one time I was there, and it bothered me to think that some of our citizens had no idea what most of the mainland states were like. I’m sure they felt likewise about people who think only of palm trees and luaus when they picture Hawaii. TV can be helpful in showing us other places, but even with it we are seeing only an edited version. I like blogging because it gives us all a chance to share the everyday details that don’t make it into the news. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

          • Heba

            Thank you Julia… Sorry for the late reply ^_^
            I like your writings, elaborate descriptions and the way you give attention to every detail when you kindly reply to each and every comment. That’s why I love your blog.

            Please let me know how I could send you some photos 🙂

            • Heba, no need to apologize for the late reply; I’ve been so late on everything lately that I understand completely! I so appreciate your kind words about the blog. It means a great deal to me to know that you enjoy it. The comments section is my favorite part because that is where I hear from people all over the world, and learn about them and the things we all share. I would love to see some of your photos, especially the ones from Egypt! If you can send them as an attached file (.jpg format is easiest) via email to defeatdespair@verizon.net and let me know if I have your permission to publish them here. Thanks again for being here, and for your encouragement about the blog. Please note, usually you can send no more than two or three per message, or the server may bounce the message as being too large.

  11. Deborah

    Reblogged this on New Hampshire Nana.

    • Deborah, thanks so much for re-blogging this! It’s great to hear from another lucky resident of NH.

  12. WOW, I should get my butt to New Hampshire! How far from Washington is that? 😉 I haven’t been on a picnic in ages, that sounds like something I should plan for Mr B and I. I might be too late this fall as we’re ahead of you kind folks to the south. Fall has been very nice though. Loving the crisp mornings and sunny but cool days. It’s my favourite kind of weather. xoK

    • Kelly, New Hampshire is too far to drive easily, but there are frequent $39 fares from DCA to Boston, from where one can do some wonderful explorations of New England. Maybe you should plan a mid-to-late October trip and I’ll watch for some cheap fares. I’m glad you had a nice autumn. “Sunny and cool” is hard to beat, isn’t it? Add in the colorful foliage and still-blooming flowers and it’s a great recipe for bliss!

      • $39 !!! Well now, that’s going on the list.

        Autumn is ramping it up, got a heavy frost two mornings ago. The kind that has to be scraped of the car windows. The sound of that scraper is like fingernails on a black board. Jim and I (mostly Jim, I held the ladder) cleaned the eaves only a week ago and they’re plumb full again. Naked trees now, except for the Columnar Aspen, they hang on too the bitter end. Next stop, spring 2016 😀 xo K

        • I’ll be watching the airfare specials. 😀 Our trees aren’t bare yet (except for the cherry blossoms, always the first leaves to fall) but I need to get out and take photos while the color is still with us. I’m glad we aren’t yet scraping windshields. That’s a job I’m not fond of doing. I did bring most of my plants in already, but I hope they survive the winter indoors…

  13. Good morning, Julia! In fact, there IS a picnic table just a few years to our right (south) …
    It was SO worth getting up before dawn that day and driving to someplace I’d never been!
    And my new hobby (trying to keep the water “level” in my photos) appears to be paying off! 🙂
    Thank you for the lovely quote. I do appreciate the word “riot” in this context! I am grinning from ear to ear!

    • Susan, I just knew those picnic aromas drifting through the computer screen were not my imagination! I’m not a morning person, but if I lived in New England, I might become one. The few times I have gotten up early (usually due to insomnia) and headed outdoors to walk, I have been so rewarded by the magic of daybreak that I resolve to do it more often…then the sleepy gene intervenes and keeps me in bed until about 5 minutes later that the absolute latest time I need to get up! Even though we won’t make it to New England this fall, I feel as if I’ve had a mini-vacation there through your photo. A riot indeed! And the best kind.

  14. Michael

    Did I mention you can buy Vermont fall leaves on line? 20 dollars for a a bag or something like that..
    We have nice Sumac coloration coming in- not as intense as their East side cousins, I am afraid. Beautiful shot.

    • Michael, at $20 a bag, I’ll bet you could get lots of kids willing to rake the leaves! Or maybe not…kids today don’t seem as eager to make money as we used to be.

  15. Michael

    yea kids today. What do you buy your three year old granddaughter when she already has everything- except the I phone and I watch which are coming soon? I am sure.
    And kids spend nine hours a day in some kind of electronic connection-phone etc.
    It is snowing in Eastern Washington.

    • Michael, I am so out of touch that I had no idea it is SNOWING there! Of course, eastern Washington is far different from Seattle, but still…

      I vacillate between freaking out over how much time kids spend in front of screens of some kind, and thinking that we need to accept it and use it for good. What bothers me most is contemplating the ways in which the digital revolution is changing our brains, and these changes are exponential among the very young. More than 20 years ago I remember hearing my graduate school professors telling us that the advent of digital media and communication would create a profound change in humanity equal to that of the Gutenberg era, when vernacular languages developed in written form and the oral tradition largely disappeared (among many other sweeping alterations in the way people lived, communicated and thought). It’s sobering indeed. As the Chinese blessing/curse goes, “May you live in interesting times.” That we do!

  16. Michael Bertoglio

    Yes we do,” Interesting times we live in and no excuse for boredom either.”


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