These are the good old days…
– Carly Simon
For about a week, the weather has been intensely blue, shimmering gold sunlight and leaves so pungently red the maples seem to be blooming fire. In front of Oakwood Village Senior Living facility, a family of 3 or 4 young trees gather all the sunshine into their yellow leaves, illuminating Mineral Point Road as decadently as any aspen covered mountain side, while the busses grumble by. I’ve been making excuses to myself about why I wouldn’t stop to find pictures among these wonders. Too tired, not feeling inspired, can’t risk hurting my back again. Like most excuses, mine seemed very, very good.
The rain finally came today. It’s not like the rain spoils the autumn presence of maples and aspens and ash, and even the leathery russet of oaks – far from it. The water saturates their colors and blackens the structure of their branches. And together, the leaves and branches lean closer to the soggy earth, as rain accumulates along the crevices and bark and twigs and veins. You’d think it would be very picture perfect, and you’d be right. Still, for the sake of my reasons, I drove past fence rows of cherry pink euonymous, not stopping to thank them for holding winter at bay with their furious color. All my reasons – anxieties, important errands, embarrassment, discomfort – made a lot of sense to me at the time.
But today the rain finally came, and suddenly I wanted a picture from sunny day. Everyone knows today’s rain means autumn can’t go on forever. And we think we know what’s coming, after the trees finally disrobe down to their skinny arms and legs, and the snow tires are on the car. But all we really know is yesterday the yard was full of orange leaves, star-shaped and perfect, waiting for us to rake them before it rained.