Posted by: ktzefr | November 1, 2014

Leaves, leaves everywhere…

Sunset on Dogwood Leaves; Photo:KFawcett

Sunset on Dogwood Leaves; Photo:KFawcett

My porch is strewn with autumn leaves.  It looks like yellow snow.

I give the leaf colors names — blood, pepper, lemon.  Tangerine, mango, plum.

What makes the red splashes on the maple leaves?  Why not red all over?  Some have specks of brown sprinkled like pepper.

You can feel the veins.  On the back of the leaf the veins stand out. I’ve read several articles lately about the possibility that plants feel pain.  The moment a plant is “attacked” it goes into defense mode, spewing out certain proteins that are aimed at repairing the damage and others that can lure predators to the “beast” that is attacking it.  It takes varying times, too, for vegetables to die.  Think about that the next time you eat a turnip.

The leaf tips die first.  They are the last to be fed.  A leaf tip is the end of the line.

I collect the autumn leaves and press them in a big coffee table book about lilies.  Between the glossy pages of red and orange and yellow lilies, I slip red and orange and yellow leaves.  Soon they’ll be as crisp as paper.  And ugly.

No two leaves are alike, even though every leaf on the same tree has the same shape.  In autumn they become even more unalike.  The same shade of green changes to all sorts of combinations on some of the trees.

And why does the oak tree’s leaves just turn brown?  It seems to skip the pretty stage altogether.

In winter the umbrella tree looks like an umbrella caught in a storm, turned inside out, with its bare limbs showing.  But it is always the last to lose its leaves and a few cling to the branches all the way to spring.

Leaves fall on the table, at my feet, across the porch.  They swirl in the air round my head and I stop working to look up.

I’m dressed as if I’m going to a Halloween party — old blue linen pants, a hoodie, and a floppy straw hat (to keep the setting sun out of my eyes).  Wrapped in a wool rebozo.  Mexican leather sandals.  Pink socks decorated with blue, gray, and green squirrels.

But I am not going to a Halloween party.  I’m not sure how I put this outrageous outfit together except that I’ve thrown everything in the laundry and just now in the process of changing closets from summer to winter.  Besides, I’m sitting on the back porch amongst trees still full of leaves of varying colors, and no one — except, perhaps, one neighbor — can see me.  And they already know I’m sort of different. 

I’m as happy as a squirrel with a peanut.






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