It’s time for my annual tribute to the winter sycamore trees. The week of rain leading up to Christmas has left most of the trees bare, their leaves on the ground.
So, when life mainly gives you fallen leaves, that’s mainly what I’ve taken photos of this year. I won’t call this great art but I do like the square shot of the bare branches…maybe a little Jackson Pollack or Harry Callahan…
The question I’ve been asking myself a lot this season: Is it just my imagination, or do the leaves more often than not land butter-side-down, with their top sides usually against the dirt? Maybe the way they’re weighted? Or are they unstable if they land on their stems so that the wind blows them over?
Winter Solstice is a celebration for optimists. Six months of ever-diminishing sunlight leads up to this, the day with the longest, darkest night. If you weren’t an optimist or schooled in the rational ways of the world you might expect the days to diminish into perpetual darkness–No wonder the Mayan Long Count Calendar ends on this day in 2012. A pessimist could see this day as the beginning of the end of time.
But I know things are about to change. The duration of the sunlight I find so precious is about to start to increase. The plants that are beginning to sprout will take advantage of the extra light and grow faster and run headlong into California’s manic late-winter, early-spring season of flowering and regeneration. Call me an optimist. It may be tough now, but to appropriate the words of Dan Savage in his campaign to fight bullying of LGBT young persons, It gets better!
Here’s a brief white-themed gallery in case you’re dreaming of a white solstice. We have no snow to offer you, but instead how about some bright white flowers, some white leaves to get you into the mood?
Have a warm and safe holiday, everyone, whether the white stuff around you is snow, foliage or blooms. It’s all about to get better, soon.
Here’s a short roundup of some of the leaf colors going on in the garden. This is Southern California so it was tough coming up with the stereotypical sizzling reds and yellow and oranges of a lot of autumn gardens in colder climates. But I think we’ve got some pretty cool colors, including the color that might cause the most envy from the northern latitudes: green!
Happy fall, everyone. I hope you all enjoy whatever colors the season brings you.
For my first attempt at participating in Pam at Digging’s Foliage Follow-up Day I looked under the grapefruit tree for inspiration. As the leaves fall from the tree they go from green to brown to gray before they finally become part of the compost that enriches the top of the soil. That last stage produces some gorgeous artifacts, where what’s left is mostly the thicker veins of the leaf. Even as the leaf tissue between the veins becomes compost or is consumed by the little critters living in the mulch, the structure of the leaf still remains.
Here’s a series of photos of those last recognizable traces of formerly-living leaves. Most of the below take advantage of the fact that the shadow can seem much more substantial as the thing itself. Maybe it’s a metaphor for the lasting power of a leaf that is about to become compost? Something about the cycle of life?