Saturday, November 13, 2010

Backyard Fall

Autumn has finally arrived in New York City, at least the vibrant leaf colors I usually associate with fall, and particularly in the little corner of Queens that is our backyard. Recently one morning I opened the back door so that I could take food and water out to the cat. Flaming yellow leaves of the single maple tree growing in our small patch of urban wilderness greeted me, foliage brilliantly illuminated by the morning Sun to the southeast, vibrant translucent gold set against a cloudless dark blue patch of sky that hinted of winter.

Some trees in my Ridgewood neighborhood have already lost most, if not all, their leaves. Other trees are still dressed in full green, holdouts against the season. The tree in our back yard falls into the middle of the spectrum, still holding on to most of its leaves but every leaf offering its previously hidden pigment. If its leaves were fiery red, I would claim the tree was a descendant of Moses’s burning bush, aflame but not consumed. Its leaves are golden yellow however, suggesting this particular tree ought to be sitting at the end of some rainbow and guarded by leprechauns.

Now that the morning temperatures have cooled, I have taken to wearing a hat in the morning when I walk our dog, and I have totally abandoned wearing shorts, a past habit I mourn, as I have surrendered to fall’s onslaught. While the mercury has fallen, the blond leaves on the tree in our back yard lift my spirit whenever I see them, interest paid in advance of winter’s debt. If it were not for this and other such bright spots in what could otherwise be canyons of brick and mortar set amidst concrete and blacktop plains, I would be tempted to crawl into my urban den, not to stir from hibernation until the first hint of spring.

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