The annual autumn windstorms arrived today, and over the next few days will be taking the leaves off the trees; with the leaves go the beautiful fall colors. We lucked out this year, having much more sun than usual in September and October and much less wind (or at least it has seemed that way). Normally the leaves start to change and then 2 weeks in there's a big storm that knocks them all down before you really get to enjoy them. This year, however, I've been able to see trees turn from green to yellow to orange to red to burgundy, and in some cases (my favorite) bright fuchsia. Walking around Green Lake between 4:30 and 6:00 has become an almost daily ritual, because it's then that the setting sun shines amber on the water and the trees start to look like a painting. On Tuesday my friend Jenny pointed out a graceful tree with bright red leaves, its branches sloping gently toward the ground. "It makes me think of a little girl saying, 'Look at my pretty new dress!'" she said, and she was right. Halfway around the lake, one group of tall trees with slender branches are all yellow, save one small swath of green at the very top of each. Looking across from that point you can see the rows of trees leading up to the stadium; their colors gradate from gold to red and back again. Another set of trees by the community center has red, orange and burgundy leaves that appear to be floating on the air rather than their branches. Just past the Bathhouse Theater are my favorite trees that change each season. As they lose their green leaves they start displaying bright red berries; these berries will be virtually the only spot of bright color around the lake come December. Right now they look perfectly in flux, just like the rest of the trees. Did I mention that I love this time of year?
I'll be out for a walk around the lake tomorrow, trying to catch the colors one last time before the gray of winter sets in. Then there will be other excitements: Halloween, steamed cider, lots and lots of braised meats, holiday specials on TV, not to mention the buckets of Swiss Miss hot cocoa to be consumed. (Yes, most of my winter joys are food-related. Aren't yours?) But for this weekend, I'll be keeping my eyes toward the sky, looking for the sun and saying goodbye to all those beautiful fall colors.