When I left Philadelphia to live in Oregon, I knew I’d miss the four seasons—four actual seasons with four distinct conditions and auras—but especially the colors of fall. The autumn palette always kicks in with the orange of jack-o-lanterns, accompanied by the yellow of candy corn, and sprinkled with the reds of pin oaks and sweetgums and red maples. But underlying it all is the range of brown we’re left with until spring green revs up again in March. Auburns and umbers, tans and taupes… come Thanksgiving, the Mid-Atlantic is Brown Town.
One could get buried in the doldrums, but under the right conditions, the browns are the blanket that’ll keep you warm on a walk in the woods. Philadelphia’s woodland showcase, the Morris Arboretum, colors the northwestern edge of the city on the banks of the Wissahickon Creek—even after the leaves have fallen. Works of art like Lorraine Vail’s American Bull and feats of engineering like Metcalfe Architecture & Design’s Tree Adventure reward your efforts in so lazy a season.
These photos were taken last weekend, before the wind vacuumed down the last of the leaves and before the rain made a misery of Thanksgiving travel.