My son and I have a ritual. On those mornings when I rouse him out of his crib, he and I stand at the windows of his room and wave to the trees, “Hi trees!” No matter how cranky we are, it always makes the day seem hopeful.
These days the oak and maples are looking a little bare. With the wet snow a few weeks ago and then a few days of fierce winds, nearly all of the canopies have fallen to the ground. I haven’t quite figured out how to explain the sudden change in appearance of our morning friends to him. I know he relishes the leaves on the ground, it’s just that I’m at loss to describe a process that I don’t really understand—it gets cold, the leaves turn colors, fall on the ground then we get to make big piles to play in.
I feel like I have been hyper-aware of the season’s change to fall. I’m not sure the reason. I have been noticing the trees that turn colors quickly and lose their leaves before others.
Norway maples, tulip trees and the big oaks seem to go first. Some of the dogwood and birch still have foliage, though not much.
Then there are the Japanese Maples. At sunset they seem to be on fire, both the large trees as well as the saplings which grow like weeds in our yard. Some of these transplanted offspring now populate other parts of the neighborhood with the same striking silhouettes.
I even keep a small mini orchard of saplings in my garden.
I am amazed by the variety of colors that sweep through the trees. More amazing though is the spectrum of colors within a single species of tree. The saplings in the yard sported leaves of yellow, orange, burgundy and a fiery red.
Even at work I am noticing the onset of the season. One day I was running around the Capitol and a yellow leaf drifted down in front of me. I reached out to catch it recognizing instantly that it must be a sign. My good omen was not to be though, as my timing was slightly off. The leaf spun away before it reached the tips of my fingers and then skittered across the sidewalk.
If I were a therapist, I would say that there might be more to this increased awareness of the season and that it might be even a mild obsession. I might even suggest that my interest is really about marking the end of a long, scorching and painful summer. But I’m not a therapist.
Last weekend I found some really beautiful and interesting leaves. Then I swept up a big pile in the yard and Lucas and I played.
“Hi trees! Hi fall!”