Friday, November 25, 2011


So it's fall and the trees have been very busy dumping their leaves. Thanksgiving is always a reference point for me. It seems like my first few years living here, there were still lots of leaves left on the trees as we rolled into the last part of November. This year, definitely not. We have had some early cold, and most of the leaves are down.

I write about this because my new classroom has me parking on the back lot of the school now rather than the front, and in the back lot, there is a tree with different leaves. In the front it's all maple and other super-broad-leaved trees; in the back there is a tree with smaller, skinnier leaves. (Sorry, I do not know which trees are which, so you'll have to believe this rudimentary description.) They are rounded at the base, about three inches long and 1/2 inch across, and they form a slight point at the end. Go figure. Anyway, this tree must have dropped millions and millions of these little leaves. They are all over the back of the lot, and when it rains, they coat your car like fur.

But what struck me was walking out to my car in the rain the other day - the sound of the rain drops hitting the leaves was so staccato, like a million rattlesnakes rattling, just beautiful - and so different from the normal sounds of rain hitting pavement or (more silently) grass. It reminded me of rain in the forest - it reminded me of the green expanse beyond the city that houses most of my life. I felt wonderful and alive.

The next day when I got in my car after school, more leaf madness. As I drove along the street, one of these leaves flew up from the vent area below the the windshield wipers and behind the hood, and started to dance across my windshield. Because it was damp, the ends stuck to the glass, but the middle rippled and waved and forced slow movement upward toward the top of the car. When I came to a stop, it fell, and it blew away.

Hooray for leaves. I will be glad in the spring when they come back again. I'll have to take a closer look at that tree so I can figure out what kind it is.

Bing Crosby - Autumn Leaves

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