Monday, October 18, 2010

October 18: One Red Tree

It's hard not to get obsessed with the various colors of the foliage this time of year. Today I'm home sick, so besides sleeping, I've mostly been hanging out at my desk doing stuff on my computer, and therefore staring out the back window a lot. I have to say, the fall colors in my own back yard are not much to speak of right now. The ash tree lost all its lovely gold leaves in the recent storm. And the rest have either faded to a dull yellow-brown or remain green.

Except for one brilliant maple down by the river. And that's what my eyes keep getting drawn to. If I look through the natural fence of near trunks, this one spectacular tree shines behind them with a color that's difficult to describe--a sort of salmony, mango red-orange-pink. It's also ideally positioned so that it's currently catching the afternoon light, which transforms each leaf into a living flame. It would seem like that one tree could transform all the green trees around it by virtue of its effervescent presence alone, color leaping like fire from one branch to the next. Even when the sun goes behind a cloud and the sky suddenly dims, this maple burns with a true inner glow. In tree language, it's shouting for joy.

Moments like this, I really wish I were a painter rather than a writer, although I'm not sure one could convey this quality of color and light with mere pigment on canvas.

Maple's jubilance
enlivens a dim day home--
I can't look away.

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