Posts Tagged leaves

Far left.

Half the year

green tunnels

enclose the roads

and paths,

surround the fields,

plump the ridgelines,

make forest something

you must enter into,

that you cannot see through;

the fall of almost all

the green

brings back the long lines

and contours of the ground;

and contrary for a month or two
displays all the colors we can see
that are not green.

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Middle left.

Even as the great undressing

has been underway a while

and only bare wood limbs stand

most ways you turn you eyes,

stubborn lingering displays

of bright

and joyful color


the trend

to ground,

for a few days more.

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Makes your eyes ache, almost,

nowhere to settle

in the profusion of colors

and textures

extending in all directions.

Your focus narrows to a single specimen

then pulls wide

across a carpeted path

or field

where boggling myriads

of discrete gifts,

display the beauty of a billion little deaths
which enable suspended life for winter survival
whose eventual decay will feed the summer forest.

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Flowers, writes, and leaves.

Just over the rim of my screen

one or sometimes many blooms watch me

build my stories, record the voices.

While just outside the door

voracious virid leaves

pull sunlight

and greenhouse gases

to fuel their roots

and stems

and flowers.

Everything else distracts, the green world settles and binds.

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Leaves not grass.

Stem-fed stem-feeding factories alive in the air
pull energy from the sun
pull water and minerals from the earth

to build themselves

and roots and flowers and fruit.

An exquisite geometry

grooms every petal and vein

fans up in three dimensions

while competing in four

with every neighbor

for airspace and sunlight.

They employ strategies

of shape and color and texture,

delicacy or density,

to finish cycles of a minute or a day or a year
as they thrive
to amaze and delight human eyes.

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Chlorophyll abetting breath.

Not always green,

or not only green,

unfurling from the core,


as if their coils of DNA had been compressed, then let go.

A few of Earth’s three trillion trees, under white clouds,
mostly voting green

— more trees here than stars in the galaxy
as recently reckoned —

while the green then gray berries
fatten into blue
and we and a thousand wild birds wait together
poised to strike.


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Trees waking.

Tapestry yarn and embroidery floss
come in 500 shades —
200 of them are greens.

This is the time of year when you know why.

They’re lighter yellower now,
settling in summer to darker bluer tones.

Except for a few with a different plan

Downhill towards the weeping cherry

not growing up like most trees

but ever wider

making a tree house on the ground.

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The Ginko hangs on to the last.

Lavender leaf,

and red.

Some saplings hold on in protected pockets.

But, it’s over, really.

Except for the oaks,

last to emerge, last to drop.

It is all the leaves on the ground


that feed our surround of forest fires.

Depending on which way the wind blows,

the sun cuts through the drifting smoke in streaks
and we get warnings not to breathe.


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Autumn weeds.

Colors just happen in the fall.


Abundance of don’t-forget-to-touch-mes,

 but calming now, no longer explosive.

Truth, beauty, decay.


Sumac works through orange


into its final reds.


Spent and pulling back, residue of bloom.

Quiet all summer, the chimney rose seizes the day.

Still just a scatter, it’s early days.


Weeds are flowers

you don’t have to cultivate.

Sometimes the best colors


aren’t hardly colors at all.

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Blooms and bird calls.

Spring overwhelms, reeling from so much at once.

A blurred yellow cartoon appears across the room,

fluffed out double size,

reverts to goldfinch when the preening is done
and I’ve stepped too close.

Behind the dense butt of Mr. Tom,
testing the grass, Lady Claudia Cardinal.

I’m not where they think I am.

Hornbeam fully leafed out, just in time for the hummingbird nests
of the first dozen or sixteen who’ve settled in this week.

Sugar maple seeds shower in astonishing profusion, likewise pinecones.
As every seed is sacred, we must plant them all.

Hawksbeard everywhere, a bumper bloom.

Money plants, in the pre-currency, violet phase.

Azelea not distressed at all by last week’s frost.

17 of the 20 blueberry bushes we planted 40 years ago
still flower and bear fruit.
This year we will implement some simple sharing rules
with the jays and crows and turkeys.

Dogwoods have become scarce, since the blight,
but a few young trees hang on.

Leaves ascending to the ridge.
By next week, an apparent mass of solid green,

but in the hundred shades of spring yellow greens
gradually coalescing into the grayer summer palette
of fewer darker hues.
And that will sign the end of spring.

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Seeing long and short.

I told the pretty little hornbeam, forty years ago,
that little maple sapling will not bother you,
I’ll keep it lifted and away.
There’s room for both, I said.


The spruce looming at the bottom of the orchard was a seedling then,
its siblings all harvested for Christmas trees,
except one pine also grown too big for Christmas.
They’ve grown up entwined a quarter century since.


Good year for cones on the high branches.

The trees are transparent now
to the sky and the ridge across the valley
for half the year a solid mass of green.


See through down to the branch.


See right through the unending woods, almost.

In every quarter see the horizon of ridgetop and sky.


The leaves will be beautiful when they return.
But we’ll miss the long view through the silver trunks
just as much as we miss their dense green cloak.

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At the tips.

Half the year we have leaves,
in Western North Carolina,
half the year we do not.

We’ve just about finished with the not part.

A week ago there was a chill hold.


Trees of wood, trees of shadow.
Projection on the ground, not real at all,
except everyday it’s closer to blooming.


Along Church Street, south-east forty miles, in Asheville,
an espalade of tree tops in perfect conic sections.


There are no leaves yet.


But the tip of every branch trembles
ready in silver or in gold.


Bloom, any minute now.


Any second.


Even the ever-cautions hornbeam is at the edge.


A few more minutes of sunlight in a day,
warmer by two or three degrees,
not just one trigger is cocked.


The whole hillside. Ready at the tips.
Doesn’t matter if you are ready.

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First snow, last leaves.

Overnight it grew, as the cold and moisture met.
We were warned — and advised and a-watched and alerted.


No more flowers, no more tomatoes. First hard freeze, also.


But the leaves are not quite done.


Some have shook and shed and they break the whiteout with splashes of yellow, pink, and rust.


Leaves wink from their branches.


And thousands lie scattered across the top of the snow,
in rebellion,
not pressed under,


promising some measure of autumnal rennaisance,
tomorrow or the next day.

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