Today Nature agrees with the calendar that Fall officially starts tomorrow: it is perhaps the perfect Fall day – brilliant blue sky, just a very light breeze, and much cooler than it has been. Perfect weather for taking the Magical Molly for a brisk walk in the park; well, not exactly brisk because she has to stop very frequently for the doggy equivalent of Twitter—to read the messages and leave her own—and I let her get away with it most of the time, because, most of the time, I am really not the leader of the pack.
We had a nice rain a few days ago to wash the dust off and perk everything up. Almost everything is still green and gorgeous and the fields and rights of way are putting on a last extravagant show of purple and yellow asters, little bushy plants with white flowers, and tall Jerusalem artichokes with their sunflower-like flowers. But the subtle shades of Fall are here too, the hedges of burning bush that people have planted are beginning to turn their distinctive colors, and the poison ivy, Virginia creeper, and sumac are starting to show some color as well.
Our son’s tree that was planted last April was little more than a stick with a few leaves on it...
and barely noticeable behind the plaque.
Last summer, we hauled water to it and the three other new trees that were planted in the row. Our efforts as unofficial caretakers of the trees were not wasted: They all survived the terrible drought in good shape, and they survived the winter as well.
The tree that was planted next to our son’s tree a few months later is also a tulip poplar. The irony is not lost on us that this tree was planted in memory of one of the power brokers in town, a successful businessman for many years who was a wheeler and dealer and mover and shaker in town politics, part of the Old Guard who ran things for many years: a “somebody.” And next to it, the tree of someone who was a “nobody” as far as the “important people” were concerned. Death: the great equalizer.
We have only had to take water to the trees a couple of times this summer. Most recently, earlier in the week a few days before it rained. They got plenty of rain this spring and summer and both of the tulip poplars shot up and out and are almost equal in size, especially given that our son’s tree had to make up for a broken main stem that occurred shortly after it was planted.
Our boy's tree looks strong and vibrant...
Nature is still wearing her summer clothes, but soon enough that will change, and warm days will give way to the colder days of Fall, and the summer clothes will be put away before the onslaught of Winter, leaving visible the bone structure of the landscape...
But then fall comes, kicking summer out… as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.” ― Stephen King, Salem's Lot