Monday, October 6, 2014

FALLING & FLOATING LEAVES

There's an old country saying that "seasons go floating downstream." That's certainly the case for autumn, or at least the early, multicolored leaf portion, as anyone who lives beside a Midwestern creek or river can readily attest.

While our annual patchwork pageantry presentation of changing leaves has only recently begun—I don't expect our local color peak to occur for at least a couple more weeks—many leaves have already done their thing, flown their colors, and subsequently losened their grip on limb and twig. All it takes is a little puff of wind to bring them spinning down…or sometimes no wind at all.

That's now starting to happen here along the river, though the number of leaves on the water varies. Yesterday the channel exiting the pool in front of the cottage was fairly full; today, there's hardly a leaf to be seen. The difference? Wind. Yesterday was gusty, bringing down lots of ready-to-fall leaves. Today is damp, cloudy, but calm…not many leaves are being displaced from the trees.

However, these are early days so far as leaf fall is concerned. In the days and weeks to come, the number of leaves coming down will increase dramatically, until finally almost every tree in the woods and along the banks of the river will be stripped bare. Only the occasional stubborn oak will hang onto their now-brown leaves—many of which will remain on the tree until the start of spring's new growth. 

Of course, not all the leaves from the trees in my yard fall into the river. Not even all the leaves on the dozen or so big sycamores which lean over the dark, moving currents like thoughtful white-robed druids peering into a magic pool. As much as I appreciate the soil-enriching nutrients and moisture-holding fiber of the load after load after load of leaves which we rake up each autumn, heave into the wheelbarrow, and subsequently dump in great heaps onto the compost pile, I wouldn't be upset if a lot more of them took it upon themselves to find their way onto the water instead of my flower beds and struggling lawn. 

Still, I rather enjoy sweeping my way from the front door, across the deck, and along the graveled walkway—if for no other reason than it's good practice for winter's coming snows. Plus there are always countless "found" still life images to possibly photograph, or at least admire momentarily before I sweep them into oblivion. 
  

10 comments:

Carolyn H said...

Griz: I'm having the same thing here on Roundtop right now. The big color extravaganza is still a few weeks away, but some of the trees colored early and have already dropped their leaves. Not enough for brooming them off the deck yet, though.

Grizz………… said...

Carolyn H…

A lot of the early leaf-dropping trees here didn't actually color up, or barely did so…a hint of yellow in the green, for example. Others just turned tan/brown on the limb and fell. One exception was the walnuts, which blazed their usual bright saffron before falling.

My entryway deck is at ground level—more of a patio, I guess. Anyway, while it isn't exposed to prevailing winds, there's a huge box elder about fifteen feet directly beyond the front door, plus hackberries and sycamores to the stream (right) side, just as close. Leaves swirling around the corner of the cottage literally blanket this deck sometimes, and I'll open the door and find them well above ankle-deep! Moon-the-Dog loves to plow through them. And when they're dry, you ought to hear the squirrels chasing each other around…across the deck, onto the window ledge, then back to the deck again, up onto a rocker, over to the big cans holding sunflower seeds and cracked corn, onto a table—leaping and bounding, all the while stirring and rattling though leaves. A delightful racket! But really distracting when I'm trying to write.

Momcat said...

My comment must not have been sent. I was imagining your stately Druids peering into the water.

What a sight that must be.

Gail said...

Hi Grizz - I love the colors and movement of your leave spattered river. Glorious. And I love more how you understand and explain the 'goings-on' of Autumn a long the river. Nature at it's best. We are leave covered here and it has barely begun. I love the smells and sounds and feel of the trees readying for Winter. I love even more the colors and shadows in Autumn - deep and vibrant, mysterious and inspiring - which will give way to the silent gray and peace of Winter's color-less hue - oh how I love that look and feel as well.
I am ok today, resigned to what is and looking forward to healing as time goes by - like the changing trees from color to peaceful gray - it will happen. Nature insists. Thank God
Love Gail
peace......

Grizz………… said...

Momcat…

Whether other comments were sent of not, I dunno—but this is the only one received.

As to my Druid sycamores, I've long imagined them as such…ancient Celtic priests, standing in groups of three or five, robed in vestments of regal white, wise and thoughtful, spiritually connected to the earth, leaning over the river's shadowed pools as they read the water's deep mysteries and revealed secrets.

How else can you view such sacred monarchs—huge trees, often upwards of 500-plus years old, trees that might have been saplings when Columbus stepped ashore, and were certainly around when Raleigh's Roanoke colony wandered off into historical oblivion?

Grizz………… said...

Gail…

You are wise and well spoken, and an inspiration to us all. I'm especially taken by "I am ok today, resigned to what is…like the changing trees, from color to peaceful gray—it will happen. Nature insists."

So true. And such an important attitude, which in no way whatsoever implies defeat or giving up! A warrior's mind-set; the thoughtful stance of a survivor who understands how to win. Thank God, indeed! And thank you for being such a dear friend.

Momcat said...

Your Druid guardians of time remind me of a tree I used to photograph with my ancient SLR on the way to work at a newspaper in Milford when I lived in wild and wooly Clermont County (when I was "shorter in the tooth").
It was in a lovely bucolic setting and it was very tall and had a full, rounded crown..it was offset from the road and stood majestically alone.
As it transformed itself during the changing of the seasons, there was something about that tree that touched my very soul. Its winter visage touched me the most .. some kind of longing for life and things to come, yet a kind of mournful aspect as well as an unknown restlessness and yet calmness at the same time.
OK, enough of memory lane for now.Thanks for listening!

Gail said...

you are so welcome, and I say, without hesitation or reservation - "I love you"
Gail

Grizz………… said...

Momcat…

The truth is, I'm usually awed and humbled by such grandfather trees—oaks, sycamores, or another species that's somehow managed to survive fire and axe and the developer's bulldozer. Living things which have stood in this one place for a duration of time we, with our measly three-score-and-ten lifespans, can only vaguely grasp. Witnesses to the land long before the world we know came into being; elements of history, in their way, whose roots go all the way back to a continent without a name…a misty scribble on the margin of sailor's map. You can't have a working imagination and not be moved by such wonderful trees.

Grizz………… said...

Gail…

I know your heart and meaning, and understand exactly…and love you back in the very same way.