The maple leaves have a slip-shod descent either twirling downward, tracing eccentric helices, or slicing crescents of air as they slide more sideways than downward till they catch their drift and switch back at a hard angle, sweeping another broad, falling arch until this swoop is also brought to a point of reversing and falling. The maple leaves slap compatriots that already line the ground with a concave sound—‘puck sllp’—because they strike and slide slightly before resting.
The fine rain of linear needles from the larch could not differ more from the fall of the maple leaves. The needles, tip first like missiles, descend straight downward. They strike the ground with the gentlest, softest ‘tuck.’
I worked throughout the afternoon yesterday to paint our new shed, which sits beneath branches of both a maple and larch. The leaves of both trees fell in my paint. The maple leaves lay flat on the surface of the brownish red paint, acquiring a color that made them seem like wishful mimics of the reddened, fall leaves of oaks. I plucked the maple leaves from the paint but left the thin, linear larch needles.
As I rolled paint on the walls of the shed, the larch needles went on as well. Needles shed from the larch stuck to the wooden walls of the shed. This was delightful. While the larch cannot hold its needles for more than a year, I hope the shed holds the larch’s needles for many years. In each of those years forward, I anticipate looking at the needles in the shed’s paint and thinking of this warm, bright, and beautiful fall day.
There was pseudo-earliness to my rising today. The shift from daylight savings time to regular time meant that I gained an hour to read this morning.
Rain that began in the night continued through the morning. I sat in the living room, listening to the rain on the roof and watching it fall through the broad expanse of the room’s windows, as I read for three hours. The rain doubled the pleasure of the reading.
In the middle of my reading, a wind rose. Branches of a maple lifted and rotated in the wind and leaves poured from the tree. Freed leaves in the fluid wind filled my view as they rode up in a current and, then as if on a playground slide, slid in a curve to the ground.
The weather front that arrived in the night is bringing winter. The temperature has dropped ten degrees from yesterday and is forecast to fall further this week. Snow, too, is forecast for the middle of this week. The winter I see, however, may be manifest less in snow and cold than in the barrenness of trees. The rain and the wind will in the next few days strip the remaining leaves from the deciduous trees, leaving the branches bare, creating brown-limbed spareness that I associate with winter.
When I came into my writing room at the edge of evening, I saw through the window the trees to the west were lit with the orange of sunset. As I went for my camera, Adrian called me to look outside. The leaves that remain on the maples and the needles of the larch held a bright orange glow. I made photographs of the trees, holding in these evanescent moments their last bright bits of fall.