Even a baby boomer can still learn!

Some might say, baby boomers are getting so old, we don’t have much left to learn. Well, Erin O’Brien of Warwick, Rhode Island, proves that wrong. Moving only earlier this year from her lifelong home in Southern California to her husband’s native territory in New England, Erin learned about a whole new part of the country … and a whole new set of beauties in her life. This is short, but a poetic picture of Erin’s new life.

Down they drift one by one like snowflakes. From a distance it’s like peering into one of Monet’s watercolors. Up close it’s like looking inside a box of crayons. 

As a first grader in California, my little scissors and I made fall leaves of red, orange, and yellow construction paper. But during my first autumn in New England, I’ve discovered the reds are really carmine and crimson, the oranges like rusty nails, and the yellows like honey or amber.

A neighbor smiled to see me collecting pocketfuls of leaves as he drove by. The recent storm was a lesson in my first lengthy power outage, and I watched in dismay as the brilliant but fragile leaves of the day before were mercilessly rent from their branches. After the high winds I crunched through the drifts of brown leaves, searching for ones with still a tiny bit of green at the tip but fading to brighter hues.

Erin O’Brien

A little bit of New England is on its way to California. This morning I mailed a small stack of envelopes, filled with autumn leaves.


  1. Living in coastal S.TeXas, we only have about 2 species of trees in which their leaves show FaLL colors— so ‘I get’ the Excitement of gathering pretty Autumn leaves… I do the same when we have a big Cold front move in, around Thanksgiving: our One tree in which its leaves turn Beautiful Colors! HaPpY AutumN Boomers~ 🍁🍂🌾

  2. Wow, Erin. That was beautiful. It really reminds me of how much I miss New England, having lived there much of my life as well. I miss this time of year in NE, and your pictures and words brought it all to life for me again! It was great to see you and Chris in Newport last month! I still remember how good the fish and chips were! I will definitely be back!

  3. As a native Californian myself, I understand your enthusiasm. There are many great things about CA, but the monotony of good weather is not one of them (I realize many people will strongly disagree)! We bought a cabin in the local mountains partly so our kids will experience winter, though the trees are Evergreens and there is never a beautiful autumn as you describe. Your photos do it justice along with your words, I can almost feel as if I am there!

  4. I lived in Utah near the Promotory mountains for awhile. It was mostly desert, yet you could see the eons of time in the cuts of mountain strata and the layer of shells indicated that once a salt water lake once covered a large area.

    It was brand new scenery to me. I got drunk looking at the mountains, they were smack dab right in your face. There were four seasons but the vegetation was different, you had to look for Spring among those plants that bloomed. Winter was a blizzard and it was amazing, snow drifts buried my car. I was fascinated by the new to me vegetation, drifting tumbleweed and more. To me it was beautiful, to longtime residents, it was old hat, nothing to get excited about.

    1. Your descriptions of Utah conjure up intriguing images!
      In California the Pacific Ocean was my compass, and a constant friend.

    1. I understand. But, if you have any interest in geology, Utah is like a living geological lab. You can see textbook examples of tilted rocks, layers of sediment over time, hot springs, old lava beds, the mountains and the firs, the mountain passes, the snowcaps, it just goes on and on….. if I could afford to live in Utah, I would probably return just for the rocks 🙂

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