Monday, November 8, 2010

11.1 Cold Front



Once again tearing a page off the calendar has correlated with a pronounced change in the weather. Cold and clear, thirties this morning. I worried about the Mandeville rose, a conspicuous but exposed annual, sitting in an oversized pot on the corner of the patio. But it looked fine. The deep red tubular flowers, which age and drop in the manner of all flowers, are still doing their thing.
Our plan, or rather intention, is to take this plant indoors before the first real-frost day. But the pot is very big, filled with heavy soil, plus a wooden arbor frame for its climbing, twining branches, and doesn’t give much when I tried an experimental drag… We all know about good intentions.
Then, a few days later, we get a couple of rainy days. Not particularly cold, but a steady enough rain to bring down the colored leaves of October. Half of the orange-red leaves of the maple shade tree out front fell one day; the other half the next.
The rain stopped, but the leaves continued. The mulberry tree on the side of the house, which I risked life and limb trimming this summer, waited until the last week of October to turn, then went totally yellow on a long golden day as I kept turning my head to watch. One breezy, brighter day in the first week of November all those pale yellow leaves began slowly pouring out of the great pitcher of sky.
I went back to the salt marsh along the Quincy shoreline. Pretty much all the leaf-bearing plants there stripped bare too. Color in the marsh lives in low shrubs, saplings, and viney crawlers. Those deep reds and yellows I had enjoyed last week were passed now.
It grew cold, and clear. But breezy. I looked out the study window into the golden midday light to see a flotilla of brown leaves sweeping down. The oak tree? Even the oak, this soon? Memory suggests that the great oak out back held onto its rusty red-brown leaves a lot longer than the other trees in other years. What does it know that we don’t? (Well, a lot.)
November so far is a succession de-leaving days. It’s the opposite, I suppose, of succession planting in the spring.


November Rain

Beautiful trees, birds
Their calls falling through chill hours
Yellow leaves like rain