Autumn Leaves

by Rheasq

Autumn is my second favorite season. In the midwest, we still have four seasons if lately they seem to be a bit fleeting.  It’s what we have that our warmer cousins don’t.

I love autumn.  It calls to  mind the phrase “colors not seen in nature”  and yet  has them all.  Acid yellows, burgundy reds, lime green.  Sometimes on the same tree, like the Sweet gum.  Native to these parts.  I love the all out passion of this black velvet painting of a season.  Here’s the last hurrah.  Love us before it’s too late.

Near here is a row of honey locusts lining a street.  In Autumn, that street is lined with striking gold.  Ever seen a gingko in full autumn glory?  Pairing either one of these with burning bushes creates an audacious autumn display of McDonald’s logo colors. Unbelievably breathtaking. No marketing intended.

Spring is so easy to love; a time when the burgeoning earth brings forth its promise.  Profuse flowers, warm sweet air, singing birds. Autumn is the time to take stock, to batten down the hatches.  Winter is coming.  Seeds are dropping, cocoons are being made, sleepy time thoughts happen more often.  Autumn allows plants to drift into dormancy.   Cooler temperatures dictate the loss of leaves and the browning off of perennials.  Long soaking rains abetting the storing up of resources to get through the winter.

Growing up in the midwest, the start of school signaled the end to summer break, the beginning of colder weather.  All except that week of Indian Summer.  The full fledged mother nature psyche out — temperatures so warm and sweet it seemed winter just might not come this year.  As I’ve grown older, Autumn has become more attenuated. Whether you believe in global warming or not, 70 and 80 degree temperatures in autumn just weren’t part of the program 25 years ago.  Lately it’s been Thanksgiving before there is a significant drop in temperature.  Then slammed by a serious winter fist in January; more snow than normal.

Lately I’ve noticed irises blooming in neighborhood beds.  Irises.  Typically through their season by early summer.  Irises blooming in autumn.  Roses, daisies and daylilies too.  There are so many plants needing cool temperatures, weeks of them, to come back next year.   There are trees that will not make it without cool season dormancy.   Some of these plants and trees will adapt.  I am not sure that I will.

Autumn sets us up for the full starkness of the architectural glory of winter.  The nakedness of bare branches raking a sky drained of color.  Have I mentioned that I love winter?