It's the last Sunday in October and we're about halfway through fall. It is probably the most beautiful fall I've seen here in Denver. Perhaps it's that I'm getting older and taking the days more slowly and enjoying them more. Perhaps it's all the rain we had a couple of months back, rain that washed towns away, flooded farm fields, and ruined crops that had finally grown after several years of drought. Nature sure can be fickle.
I saw a neighbor walking back to his house, camera in hand, earlier this afternoon and decided the fall was pretty enough to capture it with my camera. This first picture is from our front yard across the street to a fire red maple in that same neighbor's yard. The golden leaves in the foreground are from the maple in our yard. And the elm to the right is still green
Here's a haiku I wrote about that blood red maple:
blood red maple tree
bright among the pale gold elms
princess and her court
My neighbor Andrew across the street, has a burning bush in his yard that is as brilliant as I've ever seen it. We have a couple of small ones, but nothing like this.
Our maples are not red at all, but a wonderful gold when in the full sunlight. Here are two at the front of our yard flanking the house. Note the lawn is green, except covered by the fall leaves from our maples and linden.
I drove to the Air Force Academy a couple of weeks ago to help celebrate the 90th birthday of Jesse Gatlin, a retired brigadier general, who was my boss at the English department at the Academy. I used to drive that stretch of I-25 every day when I lived in the Springs and worked in Denver. On the way down that day I noticed the wonderful carpet of gamble's oak on the sides of the hills and buttes along the way. I've never seen all the leaves turned a the same time. Usually some are already brown and falling when others reach their peak. On this trip all were at their peak. Absolutely breath taking.
red yellow rust hills
brilliant in afternoon sun
summer says good bye
And the birds are fleeing south now. I was out on the prairie, leading a tour along a grassy trail in a arroyo when I happened to look up to see a flight of large birds. I yelled for everyone to look up, and we watched and listened to this:
eighteen sandhill cranes
warbling south against strong wind
they slide to the west
And this occurred to me as it does every time I hear cranes overhead:
sandhill cranes fly south
their calls reach some ancient need
we want to join them
And early one morning outside my favorite Starbucks as I walked in and happened to look up at a movement in the sunrise that caught my eye:
light brushes crow's wing
feathers gilt by rising sun
an instant of joy
And this fall has been a long instant of joy for me. But summer hasn't completely turned its back on us. Here, in Kathy's garden is a blooming rose bush. Leftover joy.