"Listen to the trees as they sway in the wind.
Their leaves are telling secrets. Their bark sings songs of olden days as it grows around the trunks.
And their roots give names to all things.
Their language has been lost.
But not the gestures."
The Perpetual Calendar Of Inspiration
I have a pair of favorite trees. They are in the tiny park of Cull Canyon in Castro Valley, California. I have documented them each autumn for the last 10 years, long before I began posted my autumn albums. When I lived in the East Bay, I would visit them from time to time, usually in the autumn, but in the summer months as well. I would pack a lunch, and a few cameras and I was on my way. I can't even count the number of leaves I have photographed under those trees, most of which didn't make it into by albums, but are still in my files all the same.
On September 16th, of this year, I took my first jaunt down to Cull Canyon, just to see how my trees were doing, and if they had begun to show their beautiful colors. Liquid Amber produces some of the most beautiful colors in autumn, and they really give Ginkgo and Sugar Maples a run for their money in dazzling cinnamon and deep purple colors! Unfortunately, as I turned the corner that leads into the park my heart just sank! It seems one of the trees had apparently died over the summer, and instead of the beautiful colors of autumn, there were only dry brown leaves and some ugly green moss left on it's brittle grey branches!
Last year, almost to the same date, that tree looked like this...
... and I continued to photograph it well into January, as the last of autumn faded away. By that time, there were about a million or so leaves under that tree, well, maybe not a million, but there were so many that I wished I had more time to visit, because I could have photographed every individual leaf! They were absolutely stunning! It makes me incredibly sad to think I won't see this tree continue to grow, or the colors that it would have produced this year! No tree should ever die... right? But the conflict is, ironically, also the very concept of autumn.
The sweet, delicious, passing of yet another year of life, and I see the beauty in that death, and I also mourn that same death, when the last leaf falls, and the air turns to the bitter cold winter. Life has it's seasons, and time passes, and so passes even the most vibrant beings... sometimes well before we are ready to let go, but in it's own time. I will miss my beautiful tree, but it's older, bigger brother still thrives on, like a vibrant, feisty old friend, so I will continue to photograph his progress, and be glad to know it's beauty shines on!
September 16th 2017
Cull Canyon, Castro Valley, California