I’m obviously not the only person who loves the fall colours seen throughout the Northeast: many people travel from afar to take in their beauty. And those who live where they are found would have to be busy indeed during their commutes or while running errands not to find a spare moment to reflect on and enjoy the natural beauty that the deciduous trees display before their leaves fade and fall to the ground.
Although it is hardly alone in having spectacular fall colours, what makes Cape Breton unique—and irresitible—is the combination of its incredibly beautiful landscapes and its vibrant Celtic music together with its fall colours, which all come together to be celebrated in the Celtic Colours festival. That festival, in its tenth year in 2006, draws people from all of the Canadian provinces and territories, all of the states of the United States, and more than twenty countries around the world to join in a musical extravaganza unlike any other, lasting nine days from the Friday before Canadian Thanksgiving to the Saturday after it, and involving venues in communities all over the Island. It showcases the prodigious talent of the local musicians and attracts world-class musicians from the entire Celtic diaspora—and beyond.
This essay is not primarily about the Celtic Colours festival, however; it’s about the colours I saw while attending it. The photos in this essay are presented in the order in which they were taken in Cape Breton during October, 2006. All illustrate the colours I saw, not only on the trees, but also on the hills, in the waters, and in the skies as well. After looking through the 2,286 photos I took during this time, I ended up with more than 500 candidates that were both good enough and suitable for this essay; winnowing them down to just twenty-five required a lot of hair pulling and arbitrary decisions and leaving out a lot of ground I would have liked to cover. All is not lost, however, as the photos that didn’t make the cut for this essay will show up in subsequent essays as appropriate.
While the leaves are not yet down here in New Jersey, they are coming down and the hardwood trees will soon be bare in preparation for the onset of winter. I hope the selections I have made for this essay will recall to your mind some of the beautiful natural scenes that you saw during this time, as these photos do to mine, and will thereby provide some temporary mental respite from the rigours of the cold and snowy winter that will soon be upon us.
Victor Maurice Faubert
2006 November 5