Blown Trees

blownI look up at the trees each fall and try to understand how the leaves hold on. Is there a particular sap that makes each leaf stick to each branch? Some kind of glue manufactured that’s known only to that tree? And when does each one find the moment of release?

I see certain trees giving them up early. The first week of real chill sets certain trees off into a flurry of leaf shedding. Others hold out. Oaks in particular. They don’t turn autumn color until late in the process. They don’t give up the fall of their leaves until hard and persistent cold settles in. Even so they need the wind.

My sycamore waits a good long stretch into the turn of cold before it gives them up, these shells of once-green leaves that shaded my front porch all summer. I watch the progress. Other trees blow off early. My sycamore holds on tight to the leaves through these early winds. Until sub-zero temperatures force them to curve and loose color. Spells of higher winds early in the season take care of the easier pickings on softer wooded trees. These other trees are easily blown.

After a good five inches of snow and three days of temperatures in the twenties, my sycamore looks like its about ready to cave. The leaves are withered and brown now. All the chlorophyll has been sucked down the stem back into the root and the remnant husk hangs curled and vulnerable on the twig.

Now we wait for the next wind. An approaching season of winter has a live memory in me and I know it is not far off. The next curve of a front from the north will bring the wind with it. The winter wind will do the task where autumns winds only tell prophetic stories. The next wind is sure to make mine a blown tree.