Here are lovely metaphors given by famous writers to describe flash fiction or micro-fiction: “an iceberg” “ice melting on a hot stove” “a single raindrop that engulfs its own blue pearl of light” “the world in a grain of sand”
My husband and I are not religious, but we do worship a certain goddess – Mother Nature. For years we yearned to go on a special pilgrimage – a trip to the East Coast – to view the changing colors of the trees during the Fall season. This year in October, we finally did it and came back with unforgettable memories of all the colorful blessings that nature bestowed upon us.
On this trip, my husband, toddler daughter and I were joined by our friends, a husband-wife duo and her parents who were visiting from India. We traveled to the White Mountains forest region in New Hampshire and stayed at a chalet provided by Huttopia (https://europe.huttopia.com/en/), which promises a unique experience of “glamping” (glamorous camping) with tents and chalets or cabins, equipped with modern amenities.
We had planned the timing of this trip by consulting online fall color trackers that provided estimates of the best time to view them in that area. If we arrived too early, the leaves would still be green. If we were too late, we would find most of the leaves on the ground. The margin of achieving the perfect window of timing was narrow.
We arrived at the Huttopia chalet late at night, in pitch darkness, not knowing how bright the fall colors were around us. Naturally, we eagerly awaited the sight that would meet us once daylight dawned. Morning came and as we began to explore the surroundings in our car, we were a bit disappointed. The trees in the area where we were staying were mostly green with only a few colored leaves peeking out here and there.
However, as the car moved along the road that went north towards the White Mountains forest region, hope began to rise. Colors began to pop up. “Oohs”, “aahs” and squeals from inside the car began to get louder and more frequent. The multitude of colors outside kept on exceeding our expectations. Our eyes hungrily gobbled up different shades of yellows, pinks, oranges, reds and greens as the car turned around each bend in the road. And from that colorful landscape emerged individual delights – a pinkish red branch emerging from green foliage, a blazing orange tree and small pockets of pure yellow forests. The trees weren’t passively standing around, they were bursting with color and rushing by in bright streaks as we sped along.
We traveled further north, still among the vibrancy of the autumn leaves, to reach an area called Glen village at the foot of Mt. Washington. It is an area of limitless beauty, with a babbling stream flowing between lush green meadows and beyond them, hills turning into mountains, all dressed up in autumn finery. A flaming red-leafed tree stood beside the flowing water and we enjoyed a wonderful picnic beside it.
After we were done, we joined a line of cars making their way up the historic route to the peak of Mt. Washington. The winding road was bordered with similar yellows, pinks, oranges and reds and beyond them, deep valleys were filled with the same wondrous colors. At the peak stood a visitor center, an old hotel preserved as a museum, observation decks and … a train station located at a height of 6200 feet! Looking at the tracks on the steeply inclined sides leading up to the top made me dizzy. And yet there were two small train carriages perched precariously on those tracks, inching down cautiously, as if afraid of skidding down the slope like rollercoasters. Surrounding this mountaintop, ranges upon ranges of other mountains stretched into the distance. On the ones that were close, the fiery fall colors of the trees were spread out all over their slopes. What a heavenly view it was!
The sun began to set as we came back to where we had started at Glen village. In the cool light of the evening, the colors of the trees took on a sharper hue. I stood in the meadow near the flowing water, green grass underneath, blue skies above and all around me, a riot of colors painting every hill in sight. I was seized by an urge to run. As I sprang towards our waiting car, I had a vision like that from the movies, where at the very end, before the credits start rolling, the audience is viewing the scene through the eyes of the protagonist who is leaping forward towards the expansive sea or onto some striking landscape. And then there is a flood of bright light before the screen goes blank. I bounded forward as if in such a movie and my heart exploded with emotion. It felt like my spirit was sweeping up to become one with all of the natural beauty around me.
The next day, we drove along the picturesque Kancamagus highway. It was overcast and in the subdued light, the fall colors were brighter than the previous day. Looking at them once more, it felt like falling in love all over again! The hills in that area were covered in patchwork quilts of different colored trees and when the mist moved gently to kiss their tops, it sent a quiver of delight through me. We couldn’t help stopping every few miles at vista points to drink in the copious yet fleeting beauty offered by the vegetation during this transitional autumn season.
On the second night of our stay, outside our chalet, the velvet canopy of the sky patterned with countless stars stretched over our heads. On one side of it ran a clear strip of the Milky Way. Our friends started up a cozy campfire and we savored the meals cooked over it. A feeling of contentment enveloped me and my eyelids grew heavy with sweet drowsiness. Long after the fire had ebbed, the pleasant smell of wood smoke lingered in my nostrils, much like how images of the magnificent colors of fall floated up, to remain etched in my memory forever.
Some people we meet in life make an abrupt entry and a hasty exit, leaving faint but lasting impressions in their wake. Nothing too remarkable about my experience, I don’t even remember her name and yet I find myself thinking about her at times, wondering how things are going with her. Here’s an article I wrote on Women’s Web about meeting a Pakistani co-passenger on a flight not too long ago: http://www.womensweb.in/2017/07/pakistani-woman-chance-encounter-same-different/