The autumn that isn’t…

What’s wrong with this picture?

October 23, 2018

Right. October 23. The middle of autumn. WHERE ARE THE FALL COLORS?

I’m told that in some places it’s Autumn As Usual. The reds are red. The golds are gold.

But here in Southwestern Pennsylvania, the trees either have green leaves or none.

This same picture from our back porch taken October 28, 2013:

SIGH. Not only are the skies gray, and the garden is finished, and the temperatures are in the forties, there are no bright autumn colors to cheer us and make this transition from summer to winter easier.

Some experts have predicted that maybe next week the leaves will turn. That the abundant rain in August and the warm temperatures in early October caused the leaves to keep producing chlorophyll, which keeps them green.

I remember as a kid asking about why the leaves were turning colors when we hadn’t had any cold temperatures yet. I was informed (by a science teacher) that it wasn’t the temperature, but the lesser daylight of fall that made the trees stop producing chlorophyll. Kind of makes me wonder what other misinformation I was given…

So I’ve done some research on this (read Googling why leaves turn color). The SUNY College of Environment and Forestry says, “Rainy and/or overcast days tend to increase the intensity of fall colors.” The website Earthsky.org notes, “Autumn seasons with a lot of sunny days and cold nights will have the brightest colors.” No wonder I was confused…

So with the lack of beautiful autumn photos to show you, I’ll post some pictures of what we’ve been doing for the last three months.

The back porch was mostly finished just in time for Labor Day.

The No-Fun Rule was in effect all summer, so we took a deferred vacation in early October to the Napa Valley. If your kids don’t live nearby, they should at least live in a great place to visit.

 

 

Thankful and blessed. Yes that’s what I’m feeling as I look over these photos. Despite no extravagant fall colors.

Instead I brought the fall colors inside to my living room.

There’s always a way to find joy.

Dancing in Fall

The sky invites
The sycamores to dance.
Bare branches
Bend and sway
Curtsying to one another
In proper fashion.
IMG_5048.JPG
Meanwhile the leaves have flown.
They turn up around back
Loitering by the steps,
Rabble rousing and wild dancing…
Waiting for the night wind
to whisk them away. IMG_5084.JPG

I’m very thankful that the leaves in the country don’t require raking, piling, bagging, and stacking. The night wind just whisks them away…

 

This was originally posted in November of 2014.
November 2017 is national novel writing month around here. So, yeah, don’t bug me, I’m finishing my novel…

Under the Shedding Sycamore

With apologies to Henry W…


Under the shedding sycamore tree
The irritated gardener stands;
The gardener, a busy woman is she
With aching back and hands,
And the muscles of her flabby arms
Are weak as rubber bands.


What, what to do with all that bark?
Now strewn out all around
It covers the the porch, the roof, the yard,
And every scrap of ground.
Why are apples in short supply,
Yet worthless bark abounds?


Her back is tired from bending,
The garden cart piled high
With quirky pieces of papery bark–
There a nose, there a mouth, an eye
A mask of camouflage, faces of wood
Still all on the grass they lie.


Week in, week out, from morn till night,
You can hear the litter fall,
Achenes in spring, bark in summer
Giant brown leaves in fall.
And the branches come down every season
With no regard for all.


Cursed, cursed are those who planted
This regal sycamore
With no thought to it’s future girth or height
Just ten feet from the door,
When we would prefer its litter to fall
All on the forest floor.


Toiling,—rejoicing,—sorrowing,
Onward through the yard she goes;
Each morning sees the same task begin,
Each evening sees it close;
How long, how long must this go on
Before she has earned repose?


Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Don’t plant a sycamore near thy house
Or all thy days will be fraught
With leaves, achenes, bark, and twigs
And thy battle will come to nought.