After eleven years in the desert, one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about coming home to Ohio is seeing all of the green. Don’t get me wrong, the desert has it’s own distinct beauty with wide open skies fringed with colorful mountains, and long, long welcoming stretches of road that unfold and roll out in front of you wherever you turn your wheels… But the desert earth is brown. This time of year in Northeastern Ohio, it seems like the whole landscape has been draped in varying shades of green velvet and I can’t seem to take my eyes off of it. It captivates me! It is like I am seeing it for the very first time. I grew up with it all around me, but I never really SAW it until I went away.
For a few weeks I have been intending to grab the camera early on a Saturday morning and take some photos of the lush green that has enveloped everything… The farm fields, the rolling hillsides, the thick and towering trees, the mossy embankments and the rows upon rows of golden-tassled corn. There is something amazing about the early morning sunlight illuminating a bright green leaf making it look as though it were lit from within, or glinting off the dew making everything appear as though it’s been laced with diamonds… and I want to capture it before it disappears for another 9 months.
Naturally, I never get up early enough to actually accomplish this. I seem to love my bed a little too much. I can literally sleep for hours… especially on a Saturday morning.
But yesterday on my lunch break, I noticed that a few of the trees were not so green anymore. And when I went to the park to eat my lunch, I found it curious that the edges of the very same leaves that last week seemed so fresh and new, are now tinged with another color! Fall is on it’s way.
Autumn has always been my favorite season. I love the explosion of reds, oranges, yellows and purples that seems to happen all at once before the leaves surrender to the cold and drop to the ground. The chill in the air invigorates me! The smell of sugary-sweet foliage and wood smoke makes me want to find that favorite flannel. But when the days get shorter as darkness steals more and more of the light, I am reminded of how fast it goes.
And I don’t just mean the lengthy days of summer… I mean, it ALL goes fast.
I can’t believe my niece is now the age I was when she was born. I can’t believe that the kids I once taught to swim can now be found at the YMCA, signing their own kids up for the very same lessons. I can’t believe that when I open my mouth, it is now my mother’s words coming out instead of my own. How does it happen? WHEN does it happen?
It happens day after day, night after night, little by little and in giant leaps and bounds. Gradually and all at once. We go about the business of our lives and before we know it, OUR leaves are tinged with another color. We get older, we build families, the youngers become the olders and just like the marching on of fall, winter, spring and summer… The whole pattern will repeat again and again. It’s been going on for centuries, and yet we’re surprised when it happens to us! Just as every fall I am surprised when I see the tips of that very first leaf start to blush…
You’d think by now I’d know.
There is nothing I can do to stop it. In the end, none of my efforts will slow it or even affect it. The best thing I CAN do, the ONLY thing I CAN do is get up early on a Saturday morning and grab my camera while the leaves are still green.