Published October 2008 — Download PDF of the original newspaper column
Byrd's-Eye View By U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd FABULOUS FALL IN WEST VIRGINIA How truly blessed we are in West Virginia by the beauty of our State, and never is that beauty more apparent than with the coming of the lovely fall foliage. As the days turn shorter, and the frost draws nigh, we have a few precious weeks to enjoy all of the colors cascading through the hills. No place on God's Earth can parallel the views of our majestic mountains and valleys, awash with fiery reds, warm amber, vibrant auburn, and golden hues.
So striking is our fall foliage that many travel every autumn to West Virginia to marvel at our wondrous hills, brushed with the colors of the season's pallet. "Leaf peepers," as they are often called, visit West Virginia every year to behold the bountiful beauty, and to take advantage of the renowned hospitality we offer. Luckily, this fall season in particular promises a grand display of color. The U.S. Forest Service is predicting a good year for fall foliage, and West Virginia should be particularly brilliant given the ample rain we received earlier in the year.
As the leaves begin to change, I am reminded of the Robert Frost poem, "Gathering Leaves." The poet wrote:
Spades take up leaves No better than spoons, And bags full of leaves Are light as balloons.
I make a great noise Of rustling all day Like rabbit and deer Running away.
But the mountains I raise Elude my embrace, Flowing over my arms And into my face.
I may load and unload Again and again Till I fill the whole shed, And what have I then?
Next to nothing for weight, And since they grew duller From contact with earth, Next to nothing for color.
Next to nothing for use. But a crop is a crop, And who's to say where The harvest shall stop? I encourage all to get out and enjoy the splendid joys of our Creator during this beautiful fall foliage time.
October 7, 2008