Friday, November 05, 2021

Friday Ramble - Going for Gold

And so it goes... Many trees in the Lanark highlands have already lost their leaves and fallen asleep in their leaf-strewn alcoves, but others are just starting to turn now. Still others hold their turning in abeyance until the end of November, sometimes even later. We are always happy to see such steadfast creatures on our rambles. The same is true in the village where oaks, buckthorns, ashes and gingkos are putting on a splendid show at the moment. There is one red oak tree a few blocks from home that leaves us breathless every time we round a corner and see her dancing with the wind.

Whole hillsides of lacy tamarack in the highlands have gone gold, and their brilliant foliage dazzles the eyes. When I think of their splendor in the depths of winter, the memory will leave me close to tears and hankering for a long November trip on foot into the forests north of Lake Superior. It is a little late for that, but perhaps next year.

Butternut trees in the hills are the first to drop their leaves, but the great oaks along the trail into the deep woods retain their bronzey leaves well into winter, and native beeches are still wearing a delightful coppery hue. One of our favorite old sugar maples puts on a magnificent golden performance at this time of the year, and we attend her one woman show with pleasure. When in her clearing, we thank her for brightening what is often a subdued and rather monochromatic interval in the turning of the seasons.

It has been a windy autumn, and we were delighted to learn this week that the north wind has not stripped Maple's leaves and left her standing bare and forlorn on the hill with her sisters. It (the wind, that is) has been doing its best, but the tree is standing her ground and clinging to her leafy garments. I would be "over the moon" if I could photograph or paint something even the smallest scrip as grand and elemental and graceful as Maple is creating in her alcove. Every curve and branch and burnished dancing leaf is a wonder, and the blue sky is a perfect counterpoint.

Writing this, I remembered that as well as being an archaic term for a miniscule scrap or fraction of something, the word scrip also describes a small wallet or pouch once carried by pilgrims and seekers. That seems fitting for our ramble in the woods and our breathless standing under Maple in all her golden glory. Oh to belong to the woodland sisterhood of tree and leaf...

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