The Peek/Peak of Fall

The colors are peeking. The colors are peaking.

Just one letter changes the meaning.

As I drove one early fall morning, I noticed a few colors. They were subtle, barely noticeable unless I looked. Among the sea of still green-covered trees, a few yellows and almost-reds peeked through, as if to say, “Ready or not, here I come!”

Where I live, there are four clearly defined seasons, and one of the marks of Autumn is beautifully colored leaves. Some years they are more vibrant than others. Some years the colors last longer than others. Some years one strong weekend wind nearly bares the trees before we’re ready—ready for winter, ready to rake, ready to slow down our outside time. We sometimes talk about catching the peak of Autumn, meaning we want to enjoy the beauty of leaves when they are as vibrant as they are going to be while still hanging onto the trees. But it’s difficult to predict.

In preparation for a trip, I was looking at the expected peak colors in another state, when I curiously looked at my own state. The website stated my area was at its peak. In reality, we were barely getting a peek. That’s okay with me, but I wonder how frustrating it is to someone who counts on that prediction to travel and catch maximum colors.

I like the entire transition. I like when just a few colors peek from among the greens, giving a hint of what’s to come. I enjoy the patches of colors when looking into the distance and just a few early-changing varieties pop among the greens. I appreciate the height of colors, usually accompanied by a steady stream of floating leaves. And I like the blanket that covers the ground. It’s as if the trees have said, “Enough is enough.” and pulls off their hats and gloves and jackets, leaving them strewn across the floor, like an entire daycare class of littles.

The colors are peeking. The colors are peaking.

One letter indicates which part of the process is happening. One leads. One follows. One is often overlooked. One is sought and appreciated.

What we seek and appreciate affects what we notice. It also determines what we often miss.

Let’s not miss what today offers—to peak and peek.

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