Saturday, December 20, 2014

My Tree

Oh, of course it's not my tree. I just notice it a lot. It's right outside of my choir room, in a corner where band and choir kids congregate. Every fall, it catches fire, and a few weeks ago, I chronicled it's change in a short series of Instagram photographs.

On November 14th, I noticed it was finally starting to turn. Where other trees had long been turned, this one stubbornly held it's green.

But now, a bit of red had creeped in. I took a picture with my phone and thought it might be fun to document the changes over the next few weeks. This part of California isn't really known for having much in the way of fall--some trees turn, but we also seem to rather suddenly from triple-digit temps by day to cold Valley nights. Not cold by, say, Minnesota standards, but certainly cold for us. There's not a lot of in-between.

By November 21st, the red had spread quite a bit, but was still limited to the top part of the tree.

The tree was also still quite full, but some wind and rain had been threatening the leaves of all trees. I particularly enjoyed this stage, as the tree was almost half-and-half between the red and green. Mother Nature does like to play with her color palette, doesn't she?

I was off for the whole week of Thanksgiving, and when I returned on December 1st, the tree had truly caught fire--red at the top, with orange and yellow towards the bottom. It was magnificent, and elicited a gasp of happy surprise when I saw it that morning. I had thought it would still have traces of green, but a week-and-a-half had been sufficient to turn my tree completely.

We had a lot of rain that week--while there had been rain previously, there was more now, and I noticed it was pounding the leaves off the tree, little by little. My enjoyment of this color display would be short-lived.

It happened so quickly--on December 2nd, I noticed the leaves on the ground; by the next day, the tree was half-naked (it looks fuller in the picture because of the tree behind it, also a very lovely tree but not quite as magnificent as mine).

Even as my life heated up with the crazy week, I paid attention to my tree. On December 8, I noticed that only the most stubborn leaves still held on; most had gone to the ground or blown away in the storms we'd been having blow through. Many ended up in classrooms, blown in, or hitchhiking on shoes.

Finally, by the 10th, it was basically naked--and our biggest storm yet was about to blow through, with a good dumping of rain and high winds. That did it in; my tree is now completely bare for the winter. I'll pay particular attention to it in a few months, as spring moves in. Maybe, then, I'll document it on Instagram, as the leaves come back.

Sometimes, it's nice to stop and pay attention to the little details that surround us, to actually notice the world around me. Our planet is an amazing place, when we stop to really look at it.

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