What About This? – Wayne William Cipriano

Living in the woods certainly has its drawbacks and inconveniences, but at this time of the year you forget them in a heartbeat.

We took an autumnal walk around our house the other day and were once again knocked out by the display. The sun was in and out and so we brought our sunglasses with us. Rosalie’s pair is just a bit violet tinted and when the sun receded behind a cloud she gasped and stood stock still. Then she handed her glasses to me and said. “Take a look through these.”

I had been going on and on about the beautiful palette Mother Nature had laid down for us to appreciate and then I put on Rosalie’s glasses. They put just enough “extra” color, or filtered out just enough color, or moderated the light just enough so that what I had been yapping about became even more spectacular.

The dogwoods both scarlet and purple depending upon which tree you were looking at, and all had those beautiful red berries that ought to have an excellent flavor. The hickories were an almost uniform yellow. The sycamores were showing leaves half gold and half green. The oaks holding on to green leaves longest of all. Here and there a burst of red way back in the forest coming from some unknown species. You didn’t know where to look or for how long. And you didn’t want to give those sunglasses back!

The sun peeping out warmed us, the day being just a degree cooler than perfect. And then, the wind started up. It cooled us even more but we hardly noticed for some time. Because…

All the color began to move! Each tree, depending on its height, its compliment of leaves, the modulus of elasticity of its trunk wood, and the varying pressure of the wind, swayed independently of its neighbor, opening vistas to show us the trees behind and then meshing together to intertwine the colors of each. It was an awe-inspiring enough demonstration to keep us planted as still as the bases of those trees, and much, much more silent than the woods that afternoon.

You’d think, being as we have lived out here going on twenty years, that we would be used to such sights by now. And it is true that we have seen years just as colorful, I guess, but you just don’t remember the visual impact that must have been because, each year it seems, we are wowed by the show all over again.

You wish that this person or that person were here, right then, because they have mentioned how beautiful the leaves are where they live. But, as strange as it may seem, tomorrow will not be as breathtaking as today. The woods can’t possibly change that much in twenty-four hours; but, it does. So inviting them over will be as anticlimactic as the photographs you take on these occasions when the colors are “as good as they can possibly be” and the pictures turn out “nice” but never as stunning as you recall the show to have been.

Then winter’s winds, or late fall’s blow all the leaves away except the eternal brown of the oaks. Then spring brings back some color and the overwhelming greens of summer somehow wipes the drama of autumn’s trees from your memory. So you are all set up. Naively glancing out the window in late October you are knocked out all over again. You put on a jacket, grab your Honey and drag’em outside.

This one day makes up for all the hassles living in the woods entails. Even without those tinted glasses.