Wait for It. Wait for It: Autumn in the Piedmont


Every year, I seem to forget that Autumn comes late here in central North Carolina. I’m ready for it by September! I pull my thriving summer annuals up by the roots and chop my perennials down to the ground. This year, when I ordered new bulbs for fall planting, my online greenhouse was the voice of reason, tempering my excitement—as best it can be tempered—with a courteous email advising that my bulbs would ship when appropriate for my planting zone.


Every year, despite all my pulling and pruning, warm-weather holdouts pop up in my front garden.

One day last week, I stepped out of the house and knew that Fall had arrived. It was a smell. It was a feeling. But mostly, it was the sight of crimson leaves the size of my hand peppering the walk and a vibrant, yellow-orange glow about the general landscape. That’s also the day my bulbs arrived.

Right on time.

Autumn here in the piedmont region will never compare to the mountainous, westerly region of North Carolina, but it’s beautiful in its own way. Here’s a look:


The American Tobacco Trail at the New Hope Church Road trailhead. — Cary, NC


The Virtue Peace Pond in the Doris Duke Center Gardens (at Duke Gardens) is peaceful and picturesque this (and every other) time of year. — Durham, NC

Go, sit upon the lofty hill,
And turn your eyes around,
Where waving woods and waters wild
Do hymn an autumn sound.

Come autumn’s scathe — come winter’s cold —
Come change — and human fate!
Whatever prospect Heaven doth bound,
Can ne’er be desolate.

Excerpts from Elizabeth Barret Browning’s poem, The Autumn. (1833)

A Rails-to-Trails Black Friday

The thought of Black Friday and throngs of Black Friday goers makes me want to curl up in the fetal position and whimper, “Mommy, Mommy.”

So this morning, bright and early, I headed toward nature.  It was a brisk 30 degrees when my older sister and I arrived at the American Tobacco Trail, which is a converted Durham and South Carolina Railroad corridor that passes through three counties in central North Carolina.

Instead of navigating store isles and counting our savings, we rang up these fun facts concerning what we encountered along the way: Five miles of forest. Two falling pinecones. Three docile dogs. Four pleasant people. Five frantic deer.  And numerous gunshots.  (Okay, nothing is perfectly peaceful.)

Here are a couple of pictures from our Black Friday morning:

American Tobacco Trail – a converted railroad corridor in central North Carolina

A whitetail deer kicking up her heels and shaking her tail on the American Tobacco Trail.