Tuesday, November 01, 2022

A Later Shade of 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 late in November, and we are always happy to see them on our rambles.

Whole hillsides of lacy tamarack are gold, and their foliage dazzles the eyes. When I remember their splendor in the depths of winter, the memory will leave me close to tears and hankering for a long trip on foot into the forests north of Lake Superior. No, not this year, perhaps next year...

Butternut trees on our hills are always 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 maples puts on a magnificent golden performance at this time of the year, and we attend her one woman show with pleasure. While in her clearing, we remember to say thanks for her efforts to brighten a subdued and rather monochromatic interval in the turning of the seasons.

It has been a windy autumn, and we were delighted to discover this week that the north wind has not plucked 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 fast. 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 word for a scrap or fraction of something, scrip also describes a small wallet or pouch once carried by pilgrims and seekers. That seems fitting for this journey into the woods and our breathless standing under Maple in all her glory. Oh, to belong to the sisterhood of tree and leaf...

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit. Happy November everyone! 

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