Norman Knight: Greener pastures in Colorful Indiana

I do this every year. Or, rather, I do this every season of every year.

What happens is: I become acclimated to the climate of the particular time of year in which I find myself. The expected normal temperature range, the usual precipitation, the growth, condition and colors of the vegetation and the presence or absence of leaves: the season’s normal nature soon enough becomes second nature to me.

Inevitably, though, I will have had enough of the current season. For example, at this point in early September I have grown more than a little tired of the day-after-day hot, humid summer. The sticky mornings, the dusty dry afternoons and the never quite cool nighttimes make me grasp onto any hope for a better, or at least different, tomorrow. And today is the sort of day that gives me hope. After all, this morning I had to put on a shirt with long sleeves to be comfortable while sitting outdoors.

Oh, I realize and expect it will heat up again. It always does. But the slight colors I have been detecting in recent close readings of tree leaves, assures me that autumn, maybe my favorite season, is coming soon. Although I love the crispness of the autumn air and the almost heartbreaking beauty of the slanted light of the setting sun, to me, it is the intense color that most defines the fall season. I must remember to give thanks for the variety of colors in the world at every time of the year and especially in the fall. What a gift.

I was thinking of colors this morning as I was going through some old notes and scraps of paper. I came upon a list of colorful Indiana places I had compiled at one time. Not sure what my plan was, but now another idea came to me. I shared it with Becky: Why not take a few autumn getaway days and visit colorful Indiana?

We could start out with the Greens since that color mostly gives way to others as autumn progresses. Well, Greenwood is basically our go-to town while Greenfield, Greencastle and Greensburg are all reasonable drives. Greentown up near Kokomo is doable in a day. However, Greendale, close to the borders of Ohio and Kentucky, would likely require an overnight stay.

For some, Brown County is almost synonymous with autumn colors, but the trees around Brownstown, southwest of Seymour, likely will have an equally splendid color palette. And while we’re in that area, a trip to Yellowwood Forest would make sense.

Spending some time in the colorful Indiana towns of Garnet and Jasper would be nice, and likely any town in Orange and Vermillion Counties would be worth checking out. At some point on this autumn trip we will need to visit Roselawn, Rosedale and Redkey. Now, some will argue “white” is not a color, but Whiteland and Whitestown as well as White County surely should be included on any Colorful Indiana itinerary.

Maybe we could canoe or kayak some of the Colorful Indiana rivers. White River, Whitewater River and White Lick River (again with the “white”) are possibilities, and surely we should get our feet wet in the Yellow River in northern Indiana near Culver, as well as the Black River in the southwestern toe of the state near New Harmony. (Is “black” a color?) Of course, a visit to the Big Blue River and Fawn River should be in the plan. Indiana also has a Clear Creek but my research says it would not be kayak-able. (Besides, is “clear” a color?)

Becky seems open to the idea of a Colorful Indiana road trip, but she also knows how my ideas come and go, so she is not packing her bags just yet. We agree there are good arguments for and against going. Is it the right thing to do when we have other responsibilities?Hard to say. It’s a bit of a gray area.

Norman Knight, a retired Clark-Pleasant Middle School teacher, writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected].