Surprised by Fall color: What makes me thankful


I traveled to Cleveland from my home near Chicago this weekend and had my eyes opened and my spirit lifted. Cleveland is a city that I like a lot, and my trip was planned around a reunion that was guaranteed to make me happy. But somehow – perhaps because I was so looking forward to the reunion – it didn’t occur to me in advance that we might be traveling at the peak of the Fall color season.

trees11That’s a bit surprising, as we had taken a shorter road trip the weekend before with the specific purpose of enjoying beautiful Fall weather with our dogs – and had limited ourselves to a day trip because campgrounds and cabins in the area were filled up with Fall color seekers. So you would think that the turning of the leaves might have been on my mind when we hit the road for Cleveland. But no.

Thus it was that when we got out of the Chicago-Hammond-Gary area and into rural Indiana, I was pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the foliage. Even then, though, I thought that it probably would not turn out to be the best weekend for leaf-based tourism; I thought that we probably were one weekend away from the season’s peak.

Boy, was I wrong.


Two colors, one tree. Case Western Reserve University campus, Cleveland.

Once we got to Cleveland, we found ourselves surrounded by beautiful foliage every time we got out of the downtown area. We spent a lot of our time near the museum campus on Cleveland’s East side, an area filled with parks, the Cleveland Botanic Garden, and the campus of Case Western Reserve University. I couldn’t stop taking pictures.

When we got back on the Ohio Turnpike headed west, we found ourselves oohing and aahing, pointing first left, then right, then left again at the spectacle of nature. A few scattered patches of trees had started to drop their leaves, but throughout most of our trip we were graced with an artist’s palette ranging from lush greens to bright yellows and golds, to deep browns and glorious, vivid oranges and reds. I don’t think any Autumn has ever before made me appreciate its browns, but these were rich and full of light. In fact, the sunlight was spectacular, and I know that played a big part in creating the beautiful display we witnessed.

barnWith my eyes open and drinking in all the beautiful color, I noticed more than foliage, too. Some of the Ohio fields and farmhouses reminded me of a Grant Wood painting, with round puffs of trees and bright red barns standing out from clearly-defined rectangular fields of brown and gold. There were gorgeous, dilapidated barns, too, some of them set just on the outskirts of towns and subdivisions; and a splendid rusting metalwork bridge over the Maumee River.

Bridge over the Maumee River, Ohio Turnpike

Bridge over the Maumee River, Ohio Turnpike

The weekend was a reminder to me always to open my eyes and my mind, and see what beauty the world will bring my way. I hope you enjoy these pictures half as much as I enjoyed my trip.


S is for… Sycamore! #tree #trees #nature #case #casewestern #cwru #fmsphotoaday #cleveland #ohiogram

A photo posted by Kim Kishbaugh (@kkish) on



S is for… Seedpod. #fmsphotoaday #tree #nature #cwru #case #casewestern #cleveland #ohiogram

A photo posted by Kim Kishbaugh (@kkish) on

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