The leaves this year are spectacular. The past few years have been less so, a muddled brown mess, a disappointment to the people who travel hours to gawk at them.
Yesterday was a rainy, cold day. I looked out the window often, the color in the back forty at its peak. The grasses have all turned a golden brown with the rust colored ferns mixed in. The maples are wearing their scarlet jackets now, more brilliant with each passing day. The birches a bright yellow. Another week and it will all be gone for the most part, especially if the rain keeps up.
I have seen the leaves change every year for my entire life. Many years ago I was working as a photographer in North Carolina during foliage season and I flew home for a weekend so I wouldn’t miss it.
I have to tell you that I rarely photograph the foliage as it changes. I observe it, soak it in but I’ve found that photographs I’ve taken just blend in year after year. As I left the house in Rowe last evening I drove right past this. The pond is right in the center of town (of course the center of town is just a few buildings). There is a gazebo just to the left out of the photograph. The light was going fast, there was a heavy mist and the fog was pretty dense. I notice the tree right away and thought wow, how beautiful. I kept on driving but the tree was stuck in my head. As I continued down the road I first thought “I’ll take it during the week, next time up.” I then realized this was it – the only moment this would look like this. If it was still in my head a mile down the road I had to turn back. I did.
As I walked around the green I thought about the house that was once in this spot, abutting the road. I thought about learning to fish in that pond and doing it often from the shore with other friends all having ridden our bikes with our poles. I remembered Helen and Ray, creators and guardians of the the Rowe Historical Society spending their retirement years in the house on the pond.
Walking back to my car, my feet completely soaked, I wondered why I never really noticed that maple before. I think it’s just a little gift you get every once in a while. That tree flagged me down, told me to look at the exquisite beauty all around me, stop taking it for granted.
Little gifts, you just have to slow down long enough to accept them. The bonus is I got back into my car, scrolled through the images I had just taken and thought “Yes, that’s exactly what I wanted.” A rare feeling indeed.