ANTICIPATION. Sat, Oct. 16. That’s what fills me this time of year. So much is ready to happen, ready to explode. All the elements for a spectacular fall color show are aligned. Ample rainfall, cool, crisp mornings, followed by bright sunny days. That’s just the ticket for eye-popping fall color. There is no other place on earth that can match the southern Appalachians this time of year, and Lake Jocassee is the jewel in the crown. And don’t you know the migratory birds know it! We’ve not spotted even one migratory waterbird yet this year, but the cold front forecast to come through this weekend could change all that. I’m fully expecting to see our first loons and Bonaparte’s gulls this coming week. Alas, with every change of seasons there are things we must bid farewell. We took what I imagine was our last swim yesterday, saying goodbye til next year to the satin caress of Jocassee waters.
 THE PEAK. To answer the question we are asked a thousand times this time of year, Kay and I have lived here for 12 falls, and the ‘peak’ in each one was right at the end of October and the first ten days of November. This year all the talk is about an early peak, but things seem rather normal to me, and right on course for the cusp of October/November. On the other hand, the Jocassee Gorges has the greatest diversity of hardwood trees in the country, each tree with its own timetable of preparation for winter, so peak can have a different meaning here. It’s more like a slow climb to the peak and back down the slope to the mellow glory of early winter. ~B