i have a loose and hazy notion of how it all works, on a chemical level: the chlorophyll dies out of the leaf come autumn, unmasking the xanthophyll and carotene that were there all along, sometimes making way for a sugary, crimson surge of anthocyanin. still, each september the trees begin to glitter and bleed like a miracle.
i readily confess to a mild obsession with fall foliage, an enthusiasm i trace to my mother, who’d have her mom or sisters mail bits of glorious maples, oaks, poplars to our eternal-summer home. she’d scatter those pressed shapes of sun and pale champagne and russet across the coffee table, then sit and smile them in, absorbing their papery wonder.
me? i’m smitten with sweet gum, fallen stars beneath my feet, and the pointed mittens of the sassafras. the waxy leaves of a cherry tree, and the blades of the fern leaf beech, contracting into curls like question marks.
it’s the first blush of lothlorien out there, a rush of wind and color. and so we slip on fleece and quicken pulses and tip our faces to drink in the miraculous.
more imperfect prose at emily's.
On Frogs and Living
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