It is astoundingly beautiful down on the trail today. All night it rained hard. A constellation’s worth of red maple leaves and sugar maple leaves and walnut leaves and sycamore leaves and even the strong green leaves off of the northern red oak were severed at the petiole and fell from the branches. And if the day before there was a Persian rug of scarlet and mustard it has been stitched anew with an entire new set of acrylic thread.
It probably isn’t the safest thing to do (I am wearing a helmet now, after my inglorious topple-over last Saturday that left my forehead looking like someone had smacked me with a bag of crimson manure ), but I took out my iPhone as I biked beneath the canopy and pulled up the setting that allows you to adjust the filter and took one shot of the trail and then another with the next filter and so on and on as I pedaled along. Three or four times, I felt gut-punched and forced to pull out the camera once again, in the nave of this cathedral.
Up at the bridge I
saw a big eastern cottonwood with not a leaf showing the slightest turn. I thought I had that tree all figured out
when, up my driveway it was the first tree to turn. “Ahh, a frail southern tree,” I imagined. But that clearly had nothing to do with why my
tree turned and this one has yet to.
There are three or four big silver maples out there on that bridge that
hold their color still. What will they
look like when it’s time to finally fall?
And where I’d been enjoying wildflowers in the summer, bringing clipped stalks to my desk to consider, the drama now is all about the canopy falling to the ground. I picked up thrrty, forty leaves on a walk this afternoon with the Mrs. They’re now in a glass bowl, on my desk. The Sumac still on the stem, garish reds and yellows almost too loud, too electric to be believed. And with so many leaves gone you get a different view at what remains. By the place where our property abuts the trail, I saw a collection of small trees I didn’t recognize. They look like birches of some sort. And even this late in the year there are new things to find: Andean Alder I was told, for the first time in my searching.