Picture of the Day: Fall Foliage

Posted on October 21, 2008
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Photo of the Day, Travel
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Adil Najam

Massachusetts – where I currently live – takes its Fall (Autumn) season very seriously. The main attraction is ‘Fall Foliage’; the changing of leaf colors as autumn sets in. The official Massachusetts website proudly proclaims that, “Fall is a glorious time to visit Massachusetts. The trees wear magical coats of crimson, gold, and scarlet leaves; hillsides glisten under a pale pink glaze; dry leaves crunch underfoot; and every farm stand boasts piles of fat orange pumpkins.”

Indeed, the spectacular colors that the leaves and forests assume as the cold suddenly creeps in are breathtaking. This is the peak of the tourist season here and people from all over the country and the world converge here to ‘look at the leaves.’ Fall Foliage happens in many places around the world, but in this area (called ‘New England’) it is especially special.

In the beginning, I used to think this rather quaint, even funny. But now I have come to appreciate the glory of the season. Over the last many weeks as I have sat on my desk writing this blog, all too often I have looked up to enjoy the wonderful hues of yellows and oranges and reds and browns that the leaves in my yard have assumed. By now the leaves are all on the ground, the snows are around the corner, but it is still quite beautiful.Over the years, I have taken many photographs of Fall Foliage in Massachusetts. The photograph featured here is not one of them. Indeed, what makes this photograph special is that it is not of Massachusetts at all; even though the foliage connoisseurs of New England would have been quite proud of it. It is, in fact, from Hunza. The snow packed Himalayas in the background make the picture all the more spectacular.

I found this picture on the web (here) the other day and wondered why people seem to enjoy and appreciate Fall colors so much more here than they do in Pakistan. Indeed, as so many of Shirazi’s posts highlight, we tend to enjoy and appreciate the natural wealth of our country so much less than we should. Of course, the daily struggles for survival have much to do with our lack of ability to do so. But even those who can seem to be far more interested in catching a weekend in glitzy Dubai than catching their breath in beholding the natural beauty that is all around us.

24 responses to “Picture of the Day: Fall Foliage”

  1. MQ says:

    Although it is unfair, even irrational, to draw comparisons between Pakistan and the US, but one cannot help noticing how jealously the people preserve and maintain their environment here, particularly in the scenic places.

    It just so happens that I spent the last weekend in the Berkshires in Massachusetts. The fall foliage presented a spectacular sight. It seemed as if all the tree leaves had turned into flowers of different colors. I also went up a forest trail, all the way up to the 1650 feet high top of what is called “Monument Mountain”, a one-hour hike. Walking through the forest, which was aflame with yellow, orange, and red colors, I didn’t find a single piece of paper, plastic or metal — or any rubbish — carelessly cast away in the woods. The whole forest was preserved like a private garden. See below:

    On the other hand, last year, while traveling along the scenic Silk Road, in the Northern Areas of NWFP, I passed along what used to be a fairly clean brook some 20 years ago, where the village kids would be seen swimming. It has now turned into a open sewer with tons of garbage dumped into it. (See picture below. The second picture is from a wooded area at the foot of the Margallas just behind an upscale wooded area of Islamabad.)

  2. ShahidnUSA says:

    Yes I totally agreed with whoever said that
    Get these places out of the grip of Mullahs and military and it would be wonderful to visit and enjoy.

  3. adeel says:

    Thank you Noor for the clarification. I have noticed the naming discrepancy in reporting as well. Even supposedly knowledgeable news writers make the mistake of confusing Swat (or NWFP) with Northern Areas. And it surely seems to have damaged tourism in NA.

    I went to Gilgit and Hunza in 2005 and the trip has been among the most beautiful of my memories.

  4. Naseer says:

    — what a ”melancholy ” picture —
    — phir sawan rutt ki pawan chale , tum yaad aaye
    — phir pattoan ki pazaib baji, tum yaad aaye —


  5. Dear Tina

    I don’t think you know the entire truth about these mountainous regions. Officially called the Northern Areas of Pakistan [NAs] – a name that is not acceptable to the local people, this region is completely separate from the Tribal Areas, the region under the grip of the Mullahs and the Military.

    No doubt sectarian strife at times makes things quite difficult in this part of the country but for the past four years there hasn’t been any sectarian feud in the region. It is full of peace and protection.

    Our journalists and commentators, in their ignorance, consider the Northern Areas to be part of the tribal areas. This leads them to issue statements that threaten the tourism industry of Gilgit – Baltistan [the northern areas].

    Famous tourist resorts like Hunza Valley, Astore Valley, Diamir Vally, Nagar Valley, Gilgit, Ghizar Valley and, of course, Baltistan, are safe for tourists, even today. This region is at the junction of four of the world’s mountain ranges, namely; the Himalayas, the Karakuram, the Hindukush and the Pamir Knot. It, thus, is home to some of the loftiest peaks and the longest glaciers of the world, as well. Tourism is backbone of the region’s economy.

    Thousands of tourists have visited the region this year despite of all the turmoil in rest of the country. The Pakistani tourists love to empty their pockets in the malls of Dubai, adding to the liquidity issues of this miserable nation, instead of investing the same in their own country.

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