Monday, November 11, 2013

the texture in trees

{my writing was inspired by no. 10 in the november prompt-a-day at write alm.}

i have found the most moments of solace since moving to virginia within this season of autumn.  living in california for several years prior i appreciated summers the most, oh-so-hot in the sun but cooler (enough) in the shade, orchards at our favorite u-pick place bursting with fruit, fields of sunflowers nodding as we drove by.

but here i can revel in the kaleidoscopic color change of leaves once again.  it brings to my mind images from childhood, going to the very same tree at a state park each and every fall for our family photo after a rigourous hike and a picnic lunch.  i don't know that i knew what kind of tree it was, but it had brilliant yellow leaves in my memory.  i recall fresh apple cider and wondering if one churned apples to make apple butter and the steep slope of the roof of the cabin we stayed in for one thanksgiving holiday.

when we go for a walk on one of the many paths around our home in reston, ander tells me how much it is like being in a forest.  a varied conglomeration of trees, not the gargantuan california redwoods we so enjoyed roaming among, but maples and oaks tall enough that you have to crane your neck to look up to see their tops.  they are bird-nest-holding playgrounds for scampering squirrels, vantage points for watchful owls, camouflage for the gentle deer.

these dwellings of dryads generously offer us autumnal gifts for our senses and our souls, if we are open to and accepting of them.  the winds dance through branches, tickling the leaves to mimic the soothing sounds of a soft drizzle or the flurried frenzy of a torrential downpour.   the delicious crunch of fallen leaves underfoot inspire us to drag our feet along slo-o-o-o-owly to maximize the rustle, effectively warning off any creatures along our path.  crackling a dry, withered, brown specimen within my fist i consider its life cycle - what was once green and vibrant and a mastercrafter of photosynthesis has completed its task and is no more.  it is one of countless many, yet its presence is enduring.  it was here.  its work mattered.

ander smells the fallen leaves as others smell blooming flowers.  i don't know what he senses in them, but it is meaningful to him.  he notes their sizes and shapes and remarkable colors.  he compels me to stop and notice, so i do.

and, oh, the vision of a flamboyant red- or yellow-leafed beauty has led me to catch my breath, to pull the car over and take a picture, to change the course of my day to stop and sit and just be.  to lie on the ground and feel the roots pressing into my back, to unfocus my gaze upward into the myriad layers of leaves, seeing patterns emerge and dissolve and reappear with the blink of my eyes.

these trees connect me to life.  they remind me to breathe.  they are the reason i can breathe.  their presence quietly guides me to take the rough along with the smooth, the bitter with the sweet.


  1. Okay. We have been enjoying glorious colors in Michigan and Illinois too, though today was gray and rainy, turning to snow...I noticed that Cumberland Maryland was quite mild today, on a par with Portland Oregon. Perhaps I should visit you all soon! Love and hugs from Aunt Eden

  2. Autumn is my favorite season too. I love the trees!

  3. I can't get enough fall this year. The colors, the sounds, the light. Magical. Loved reading about yours <3

  4. Oh how wonderful to see a sight so breathtaking that you have to pull over and take a photo or just absorb it. I know that feeling well, and it's marvellous to return to it in your mind's eye when you need a moment of escape or to find that silent place inside.

    Thank you for your beautiful words,

  5. Wow! This picture, and your words, are astonishingly beautiful. This world, it just blows me away, every single day. Thanks for capturing that wonder. xox

  6. beautiful. and this sums up everything i miss about a true autumn full of colors and leaves and crisp air. thanks for conjuring it up for me so well.