The greens were subdued. Weathered by a summer’s worth of sun. Pockets of real color … gold … orange … rust … red … clustered in the branches above and gathered along the walkway. But the gentle yellows called quietly. Ahh … the soft, subtle yellows, practically sighed.
It’s wonderful, one of the best of sounds. Soft, the sound of gentle movement up, up around the treetops. But there’s a rhythm to it. Not pitter patter. Maybe pat, pit, pat. But way more subtle than that, and quicker than pat, pit, pat.
I guess by this time of year the weathered leaves near the top of the canopy are dry and leathery. And strong. Strong enough to hold onto raindrops for a minute or two. And let you listen, while the air down below, where you stand, surrounded by trees, is quiet. Insulated and quiet. The kind of quiet we hear in a room with heavy drapes and thick carpet.
The pit-pats are soft enough the subconscious eventually has to tap you on the shoulder, and say, what is that? Wind? Rain? Yes, rain. And if you like, you can stand still. Or you can saunter along on your way. And listen. For as long as it lasts, you can listen. As long as the leaves up there protect you, you can listen.
I feel I should pause here, because there is a delay in the way this all happens. Besides, the moment deserves a pause. Like it would be inappropriate to rush it.
Then. Then the rain picks up and leaves give way to the weight of the moisture. Soft pit-pats become a drenching swish, a swish that makes it down past the leaves to the air that surrounds you. Down to the shrubs and small plants that grow near the path. Down to the dirt. It’s a different kind of rain sound. The kind they overdo in movies. Why can’t they get that right?
Then, I guess it’s time to move on. Make a dash for it, find a dry spot.
Don’t wish it away
Don’t look at it like it’s forever
from Elton John’s “That’s Why They Call It the Blues”
lyrics by Bernie Taupin
photographed september 4, 2020
Evening walks feel different now. Sundown comes earlier, for sure. But it’s more than that.
Is it the seasons? People? Maybe people are tired of walking the same paths, the same trees, the same curves and dips in the surface. Parents tired of getting their kids and their bikes down to the trails, skinned knees, everybody trying to get along and enjoy nature. Or maybe it’s the kids who are tired of it. Maybe they’re getting ready for school, however school is going to work this year. I think there are fewer people walking the trails.
But it’s not just people. What was alive, thriving, robust, a month ago is starting to fade. I’m avoiding the words.
I look around and I see sad. Maybe lonely. Past the prime. On the way to a harsh reality I’m not ready to deal with.
There are fall flowers, but the brush is almost down to leafless sticks in many places. It can make you careless because there’s still poison ivy among whatever is growing. Already in September, trees are skimpier. Not bright fall colors and dropping leaves en masse, but leaves are weathered, and when you look up now, you see more sky than lush green. In July I could only hear moving water somewhere behind all the green, but now I can see right down to the creek.
Even the dirt looks pale, anemic. Surely the dirt doesn’t change.
September sunsets are lovely. Pale bits of amber light make it past the lowest branches. And September’s pretty wildflowers let you pretend. For just a little longer. But, ready or not, change is on its way.