Autumn's annual color show is pretty much over for another year. Here along my hundred-yard portion of the river, where the dominating tree species are sycamore, hackberry, and box elder, fall never quite manages to put on that quintessential eye-catching seasonal performance. None of those expected Technicolor scenes characterized by patchwork forests, thick with various bright maples, and invariably favored by calendar publishers.
Oh, there are a few willows and a walnut here and there to light things up with their snazzy yellows. But no blood-red swamp maples or festive-orange sassafras. The closest these corridor woodlands come to such vibrant hues are the scarlet twinnings of woodbine and the gaudy flames of poison ivy. Plus way too much invasive honeysuckle, which—at best—dons a sickly and pale yellow-green.
Instead of dazzle my home-turf trees deal in subtlety. Especially the sycamores, who often decide to retain their oversized leaves for a few more weeks. You have to adjust your eye and your thinking to fully appreciate their richness.
But in earliest soft glimmer of morning, with a backlight assist from the sun, or some blue sky for background—even simply floating atop the water—they are, unquestionably, beautiful.
Who says brown is boring!