Tuesday, October 28, 2008

all that glitters

Frost last night, and the ground glittered in the dark of early morning as I walked my son and husband to the car. "Look at the sparkly grass" I said, to H. He was quiet, but glancing around with that look on his face that says something interests and pleases him. As I buckled his car seat, he smiled."Sparkly car too." He said, staring at the patterned whiteness glazing the windshield.

Later, as I walked to the bus stop I saw the inevitable cascade of drooping green leaves, the last holdovers that seldom turn but maintain their summer color until the cold freezes them through -- catalpa, gingko, others. The neighbors at the corner have an enormous catalpa tree, such grand scale with leaves the size of luncheon plates and knotty branches that spiral skyward, huge flowers and absurdly large beans in the summer. In the morning stillness I could hear the giant leaves dropping to the sidewalk one at a time, with an audible "pat." In fact, the pavement around was nearly invisible for the blanket of green. So I stood underneath the tree, and tipped my head back as far as I could, so that only the sky and the branches were seen and not the horizon at all. And down they drifted, one at a time in constant rhythm, falling out of the receding perspective of the uppermost limbs, fluttering to either side of my face on the way down. And I could hear them touch ground, pat...pat...pat. As much fun as this was, I could only stay a moment. I stooped over, chose a leaf to carry away with me.

Down the road the gingkos stand, lining the numbered cross-streets, and most of them obstinately green. They too are leaf-limp and drop their pretty, wedge-shaped foliage all around. Gingko leaves grow right out of the larger limbs often times, amusingly, like ruffled sleeves on the tree. A few of the older trees had started to gold, and I picked up one of those leaves as well. Next thing I know I'm running for the bus, having lingered too long.

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