Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Saturday Snapshot #13

     Today's snapshot, an enormous pyramid of autumnal glory, comes from Tom Peters, who took it last week on Second Street in Momence.
     Thank you, Tom.
     There is comfort in the turning of leaves in the fall.
     For their beauty, of course, the amazing yellows and reds, oranges and, in the case of the burning bush in the back of my house, a bold magenta.
     But also in the fact that they take place at all. That life whirs through this yearly cycle of birth and death, flourishing and shutting down. Something regular, predictable, dependable.
     Thank you nature.
      If only our politics would be as orderly or as predictable. The sprouting of liberal freedoms, slow but blooming progress, then the chill November of extremism, and following winter of nationalism, despotism, as certain populations become uncomfortable with the idea of everyone competing on a level playing field as equals, and try to push down the people who are scrabbling up.
    We don't know, at what point in the cycle we are. Is this the end of February, with bleakness all around, but spring lurking, mischievously around the corner? Or is this the first cold breezes of late October, with months and months of icy suffering yet to come?
    Who can tell? Nobody.
    The changing of the leaves reveals a subtle strategy we might bear in mind. In temperate climates, trees tend to keep their leaves, replacing them gradually in three- to five-year cycles. And why not? The sun is out, it's dinner time. But in our colder regions, when long cold, sunless winters make production of nutrients of scant benefit, trees don't even try to make food, preferring to withdraw useful chemicals from their leaves and then shake them off after the first few frosts, resolving to try again in the spring, when conditions are better.
     Smart. Nature tells us to work hard when condition are favorable, but if there is a barren stretch ahead, to go fallow, save our strength, and reserve out energies for when they can do the most good.
     This is one of those times. Unlike the unavoidable arrival of winter, we all can make a tiny difference, harnessing our warmth against the gathering totalitarian bleakness. Show your true colors. Vote on Tuesday, for America and against fear.


  1. We have a burning bush as well that just peeked. Vibrant colors.

  2. Voted. But I am now one of those old folks who vote come hell or high water. Remains to be seen whether the youngsters will get up and put their voices together for a change.


  3. Beautiful for more reasons than one.

  4. I voted yesterday and signed up to be a first time judge on Tuesday. Come on out and see me, everyone.

  5. Gorgeous.
    There is wisdom in trees, I fervently believe. They outlive us, and invite all manner of living things to share their space.

  6. There's a huge maple tree in my front yard that always reaches the apex of its autumn oranginess around election time, usually on or about the 7th of November. Just like clockwork. The tree fills my yard, and even the interior of my house, with the same orange glow every year, and has done so for decades. But this year, the maple's leaves began to turn in mid-August, and there were ugly dark brown splotches, like birthmarks, on each leaf.

    I got nervous. I was certain that this huge tree was either sick or dying. Turns out it's caused by a fungus that occurs when the summer weather is unusally warm and wet.

    By late October, the maple leaves began to turn brown, shrivel up, and fall. The tree will probably be mostly bare by Election Day, instead of at its usual vibrant orange peak. I just hope it's not an omen of things to come on Tuesday, and afterward.

    1. We are losing trees to invasive species, certainly global warming will add to the carnage. Voting correctly today may not save civilization, but abstaining could hasten a world where our grandchildren won't have the luxury of contemplation at autumn leaves, or even autumn.

  7. More awesome writing. I guess that word may have been a little over-used; nonetheless, it is applicable here.

    There'll be two votes for sanity from this household, "for America and against fear."


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