Friday, November 10, 2006

the names of the trees

I don't know most of them. The big tree on our corner is an elm, one that so far hasn't succumbed to Dutch Elm disease. It's already lost most of its leaves. When I park the car on that side of the street I drive on top of a thick carpet, almost up to the curb. They're wet and springy and and slippery. What's left on the tree are brown and dead-looking.

In front of the house the crape myrtle still has most of its leaves. In the interior, among the multiple trunks, the leaves are still green, tipped with light yellow. Moving outward they turn more yellow, then gold, then orange, then almost red at the tips of the branches. This tree is only about as tall as I am; a few years ago it was taller, but there was an accident on our corner and a car ended up on top of the tree, pushing it down to the ground. Amazingly, it has come back, with more trunks than before.

In the backyard the dogwood still has leaves and they are a dark, burnished red. No matter how bright the sun they don't really catch the light as the red maple leaves do; they look dull but rich.

A block or so away there's a stand of gingkos. Their leaves are so yellow they look, from a distance, like flowering trees with blossoms as bright as forsythias. In the late afternoon, when the sun is low, they look lit up from within and below, glowing a deep bright golden yellow.

There are a few more I know but not many. And I can't quite capture the colors when I photograph them; that late, low light just doesn't come through in my pictures. They look almost on fire, some of them, and as I drive down the street away from the sun the remaining elms and their younger, newer cousins, whatever they are, lean across the street making a canopy of flaming color to drive through. I wish I knew all their names.

1 comment:

Heather said...

trees are so fabulous... I love them

neat post