Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Turning over a new leaf

Today, in Seattle, I pity people who grew up in California. At least, my part of California and south. And other places that don’t have autumn.

Like with snow, you can visit it, but being surrounded by it on a daily, routine basis is an entirely different experience.

I looked out of the cab window and saw the beautiful density and variety of trees – you can’t see individual trees – it’s just mounds of trees. With spashes of color. You get an almost tactile feeling of a paintbrush having swatted at them.

Do people who grow up without mounds of deciduous trees even know the expression “The leaves are starting to turn”? I said it to the cab driver, and it was like an ancient, familiar phrase in my mouth. Like the name of a best friend you haven’t talked about in many years.

Someone from California, someone who hasn’t lived through fall afer fall, might think these splashes of gold and red and orange among the rich green is what fall colors are. Even as a midwesterner I used to celebrate the arrival of the colors, thinking fall is here. Forgetting it’s just the beginning. It’s not when leaves are splashed with color: it’s when leaves are doused in color, bright golds and flaming reds completely replacing most of the green, that fall is at its most awesome.

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