October Slopes

by Andy Dappen

Golden lit larches.

Several October hikes around North Central Washington have revealed the truth: Washington is no longer the Evergreen State. Just how far our lands have strayed from a purity of green becomes apparent after the equinox as the bad actors of autumn, the miscreants of color, show themselves in horrifying flames of yellows, oranges, and reds that rage across our once verdant landscape.

‘Science’ claims the autumnal equinox delivers photoperiodism causing a plant’s green chlorophyll (the stuff needed for photosynthesis) to break down, thereby revealing the mixture of other pigments in the leaves– carotenoids (yellows to oranges) and anthocyanins (pinks to purples). Ridiculous!  Autumn simply reveals the underlying character, of plants. When the going gets tough, we see which green plants tough it out, which ones belly-up yellow, which red ones plan to freeload from the collective, and which other off-color variants divulge nefarious intentions.

Blueberries or red leaf.

This fall – distressed by the yellows, oranges, pinks, reds, and purples affronting my eyes — I walked the hills of our region identifying the most flagrant felons of fall. The result was this Ten-Most-Wanted list. I pass this along in hopes that all true Washingtonians will help in the effort to stomp out these offensive violators and restore our green exceptionalism.

  1. Calling this a carpet of ‘blueberries’ is a shameful euphemism foisted upon us by the liberals of educational institutions. Our hero Joe (McCarthy) would have rightly called this ‘red leaf’ and would have purified the alpine zone of this Bolshevik scourge.


  2. Look at this idle wallow of willow! All those oval leaves yellow in October and won’t be green again until April or May. Half the year devoted to torpid lethargy? There’s no place for such languor on our lands. Pluck it and chuck it.
  3. Cut-leaf anemone? Give us a break! With those colors it can’t hide its Maoist roots. Time to rename it the ‘cut-leaf enemy’ and cut it all loose.
  4. Botanists say fireweed is an early successional first-responder inhabiting the charred ground of burnt forests. But aren’t all botanists environmentalists?! The fire reds of this plant reveal that the plant itself sets fire to the landscape to assist its own spread. Time to torch the liberal lies surrounding this plant and to punish this arsonist.

    Cutleaf anemone.

  5. The march of larch (first picture) is a yellow tide of infection sweeping down the hillside. Like the loathsome Lincoln Republicans who have switched sides rather than be cast as modern Reprobate Republicans, these ‘deciduous conifers’ are pathetic wafflers. Send in the chainsaws.

    Mountain ash.

  6. What is the true color of this mountain ash – green, yellow, orange, red? How do we know where such conflicted character leads? By the plant’s fruit — which happen to be bright red! Verdict? Ashes to ash.
  7.  This plant tries to ingratiate itself through its association with a classic figure of American literature. But like the unindustrious Huck Finn who tries to trick others into doing his work, the huckleberry bush shows itself to be a yellow loafer that we should eradicate not idolize.
  8. Alaska has long been the summer target of ne’er-do-wells looking to make big money in a few months so they can lay idle the rest of the year.  This is exactly how the Sitka valerian operates – it quickly flowers in summer, yellows in October, and idles-away the entire winter. This may be acceptable in Alaska but we’re better than that.
  9. They may look like grass but sedges, with their triangular stems, thump clumsily when you roll them between thumb and index finger. This oddity is bad but their yellowing in autumn is beyond redeemable. Hedge against sedge –refuse to let them take root here.
  10. Be they maiden ferns or bracken ferns, the frons of these infamous loafs slough their chlorophyll in fall. That might have cut it in the Paleozoic, but in this post-Pleistocene

    Pearly everlasting.

    period we expect more. We need modern, productive replacements.

The images of this report reveal the magnitude of the crisis. Washington’s green stalwarts — firs, pines, spruces, junipers, heathers, mosses – are all under siege. Take a look at this beautiful pearly everlasting– still green, still proud, and still contributing. Yet it is flanked by a conflagration or flaming offenders. Even more beautiful? Feast upon the uniform greenery of the conifer forest below. It’s time for we residents of the Evergreen State to restore our true color by removing the perversity of diversity that has infested our lands and demeans our way of life.


Why do plants change colors in fall? Pseudo ‘science’ posing as truth makes the task ahead daunting. For example, this misinformation disguises the truth about entire hillsides of terrible plants.

This post was originally published on 10/23/2020.


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