"In the Warm Sunlight of the Fall " by Weiming Zhao
We moved from Texas to Minnesota in the fall of 1987, just in time to see a Midwest show of autumnal colors. I remember leaves falling in Texas and raking to do. But I'd never seen such a colorful decamping of leaves in my life until we moved to Minneapolis.
The fact that I did not have a car accident that first year is a miracle. I could barely keep my eyes on the road as I drove down the towering elm tree-lined streets of the little village we chose called Linden Hills, aptly named after yet another lovely tree. All I wanted was to stare upwards, to see the brilliant colors against the rich blue sky.
We still have a remarkable number of elm trees, though each year, sadly, many fall prey to Dutch elm disease. Still, the stunning canopy of color they create in fall and again in spring can truly drive you to distraction.
Reading Pamela and Edward's delightful post on Nov 21 about tree trickery in her neighborhood reminded me of a similar experience we had last month along the stretch of West 44th Street that is lined with prehistoric-looking Ginkos.
Such odd trees, those Ginkos. Even when they're fully leafed out, they look as if they forgot to fill in the space between branches with a few extra offshoots. And for as old as their species is, they are remarkably delicate when it comes to reacting to Minnesota's change of seasons.
Some years they mellow to a warm citrine if the temperature cools slowly. And as the wind picks up, they fall just like all the other trees. Other years, they attain yellow only to fall in unison with the first cold snap.
But this year was a first for me.
Before the month of October had reached its midpoint, I woke up to see a sweet little dusting of snow. I left for a volunteer engagement around 9:30, and when I returned by 11, the snow had mostly melted in the sunlight. Of course, I wondered right away how the Ginko trees would react.
And that's when I saw this:
Ginko leaves everywhere! A carpet of them.
I don't have the greatest sense of smell, but I know it was intense. And the best way I can describe it is "green." The scent of green was even strong enough to overpower the less-than-pleasant smell of the fruit that certain of the trees produce.
Most of the Ginko leaves have been raked away now, though there's always a few leaves that cling for dear life through the winter.
Good luck little Ginko leaves! Until we meet again in spring . . .