Fall Color

It’s official, Fall is here! Pete thinks I’m a bit premature, but I saw some trees that had leaves that weren’t green. Granted, you had to look hard for them, but there they were: a beautiful reddish-orange maple and a bright scarlet sassafras leaf.  Pete says the color change occurs when the days get shorter. As winter approaches, the trees know that they won’t have enough light or water for photosynthesis. When they stop making food, the green chlorophyll leaves, allowing the other colors to shine through. I’ve lost myself many a time just picking up a colorful leaf, staring at its beauty. Once, it was poison ivy…but still very beautiful!

Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year. I love fall and winter, with their crisp air and woolen clothes. When Pete and I lived in Tallahassee, Florida, there wasn’t much happening in way of fall colors. I remember there was one tree fairly close to us that was a maple of some sort, and it would change to a glorious red. Every year, Pete and I would get in the car, drive to this restaurant and park in the back part of the lot where the tree was. I’d get out, sit on the car hood and just stare – I missed it so much. We’d also head up to Atlanta, Georgia, where there were even more trees that we could look at. It’s funny the things that you take for granted (almost) when you no longer have them around.

Oh, and I missed snow. I’d come home to Ohio each year, hoping to have snow to play in. I’d get back to Florida, and my mom would inevitably tell me when I called to say I was home safe and sound, “It’s snowing here!” Christmas just wasn’t the same decorating a tree in shorts and sweating. I usually lost it when Bing Crosby started to sing “White Christmas.” And the smell of a Christmas tree is one of my favorites. Our first Christmas back in Ohio was spent up in Michigan with my brother and sister-in-law. They had two feet of snow on the ground, and on Christmas Eve, it started to snow again. I had forgotten the quiet that comes with snow, and the blueish beauty of it under street lights.  You somehow feel that there can’t be anything wrong in the world at that moment.

That reminds me of something that Pete did when we were in Florida. He travelled to Chicago and came back, knocking on the door to our apartment. I was a little peeved, thinking,”He should have a key, why do I have to get up and open the door?” But I did, and there he stood, lilac flowers in hand. They don’t grow in Florida (too hot), and lilacs are my favorite flower – such a romantic gesture that brought me to tears. Lilacs grew outside the window by the bedroom at my grandma’s that was always mine when I came to visit. And my grandpa used lilac cologne. They were also the flowers I carried at my renewal of vows ceremony, cut from my back yard.

Another plant aroma related tale: My boss had some sweet grass that she was given by a Native American Indian. I put it to my nose and started to tear up: it smelled exactly like my grandpa’s barn where we played as kids, a memory I hadn’t thought of for many, many years. Smell has such strong recall. I guess that’s why plants and trees are very much mingled with my memories.

Until next time!

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