Field Notes 10/29/15

Thursday, October 29, 2015, 01:40 PM:

It’s chilly today, especially with the breeze coming in every now and then. For a late October afternoon however, it is a modest 61 degrees Fahrenheit. In a long sleeve cotton shirt and a fleece vest I am warmer than I would like, and due to the inclement weather of yesterday I was not expecting this warmth upon leaving my dorm room. With that being said, I am not complaining, because I say we should savor the last few warm days we have before the winter hits.

Ash has officially lost all of his leaves. Not a single stem clings onto any of the empty branches protruding from his trunk. However there are two clusters of dead leaves situated in notches where two branches meet. Both of these clusters are a mix of brown and grey, and are not the prettiest part of the view of the tree for certain. They almost look like a nest of some sort, and when I think about it, that is the only logical answer for how the clusters could have appeared in the first place. Maybe there are special types of birds who do not migrate south for the winter, and they utilize the plentiful resources that appear as autumn leaves fall to the ground for their nests. It is also possible that by some miracle of wind and rain these leaves stuck together and appeared in a notch in a tree. As I look at these ugly clusters I hypothesize the nature of their existence, but I may never know the truth.

The leaf bed below Ash’s trunk on the foreground is not as soft and airy as it was days before. Rain has washed out the area creating mud and wetness and because of that, many leaves were displaced. In lieu of the disappearing ash leaves covering the ground, Ash’s neighbor has taken over the property with his mammoth leaves. Across the ground, leaves the size of Frisbees lie damp and droopy. They are greenish-yellow with spots of brown scattered all over.

One leaf trumps the rest in size. It is folded lazily in half and is camouflaged by the surrounding leaves. However, I notice the leaf as my spotlight gaze scans over the area. I walk over and it unfolds into its full size as I pick it up. It’s thick, leathery and damp. Alongside a few of Ash’s lemon sized leaves, it looks monstrous. If I hold it up to my face it covers every feature and could hide my identity from onlookers. Really it is just massive, the biggest leaf I have ever seen.

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Ash looks down on all of these leaves that are seemingly on steroids, and beside him sits the tree from which they originated. This tree, still standing tall with many leaves covering its branches, stares at Ash from across the path. The two trees juxtapose anyone who would walk through their arches. The only thing is, one has leaves and the others do not. It appears that it was an early end to the leaf season for Ash as many other trees still have leaves to account for. Despite his lack of leaves, he looks elderly and wise next to all of the leaf bearing trees. He is ahead of the game, preparing for the winter as if he knows something that all the others do not.

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