Saturday, October 15, 2011

Just as I Thought

Yesterday was the first time this week that I was able to get home in time to see Blue Jay Barrens in the sunlight. As I feared, the rain and wind have stripped many of the trees of their colorful leaves.

One of the most startling sights each year is the opening of the ridge top woods. The ridge has a narrow top, so there’s only room for a few trees before the ridge drops off the back side. The mass of leafed trees looks so substantial during the summer that you forget the actual sparseness of trees. When the first holes develop in the fall, my first reaction is to mount an expedition to make sure all of the trees are still there.

The massive Tuliptrees that tower above the cedars have been reduced to mere skeletons. One day the cedars will lose their battle with the overshadowing Tuliptrees and become deadwood structure within a deciduous forest. That event is still far in the future.

Development of large leafless blocks indicates that the days of colorful fall leaf displays have come to an end. Even if the remaining trees were to develop the most beautiful of colors, there has been too much leaf loss to recapture the joy of autumn leaf turn.

The old fencerow trees that effectively divide prairie patches during the summer have thinned enough to see from one prairie to the next. The view becomes more open each year as I remove invasive woody plants.

The large blocks of oaks seem to be unaffected by the arrival of fall. These trees will hold their leaves into winter, but instead of bright colors, they will gradually dry out and turn brown. It seems that the fall colors came in a flash and now I’m just left with the afterimage.

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