In my youth I only admired brightly colored maples. I don’t think I am alone. When people talk about the New England fall and set off leaf peeping, it is the brilliance of the maples that they are looking for.
But even maples cannot be counted on to be consistently scarlet. Now that I am older, and spend so much time driving up and down Route 8A which winds through woodlands and along a stream, then onto Route 2, the famous scenic Mohawk Trail, I have become more appreciative and admiring of the other trees that are so common.
Golden poplar trees line the last bit of road leading to our house.
White barked birches scatter gold across the cerulean sky.
Dense burnished leaves of the young oaks glow in the afternoon sun along the roadside.
Right in my own backyard I have brilliant blueberry foliage to enjoy
in its myriad shades.
Our woods are full of beech trees, but I’ve never hear anyone write an ode to the beech.
I have come to a special admiration of the beech and the progression of fall color. The summer green becomes striped with a sunny yellow. Then it seems those colors change places and the yellow leaves are touched with green. Soon the yellow is tinged with a lively brown before it turns a dry rustling brown. These two beeches growing right next to each other show how unpredictably the color changes.
An interesting aspect of the beech, especially young beech trees is that the leaves are not abscissed in the fall, which is to say, the leaves do not fall off the tree. In the spring the new leaf buds finally push the dead leaf off the branch. If you want to add a new word to your horticultural vocabulary, the term for this process ismarcescense.
Soon the trees will be bare, all the colors dimmed and blown away. Only the dreams of autumn will be left to me. Until next year.