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Posts Tagged ‘autumn’

in gusting wind
the coloured leaves
swirl away

on every lawn
rests a patchwork
of gold and red

fall … fade … die
all autumn leaves
reach the same end

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Red Autumn Leaves.for the blog

Freedom lies in being bold.

Robert Frost

I will be offline for a month as we travel deep into the outback. I also need more time to prepare my new book for editing. The next blog page will be posted on Saturday, June 13th. Meanwhile, happy reading and blogging.

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When leaves fall 1

brown leaves
gently falling
once breathed sunlight and rain
into life giving oxygen –
these leaves

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Misty Vineyard 1

an early morning chill
sunrise later – day’s end sooner

the turning of the leaves –
like a gentle mist
autumn slowly tiptoes in

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another equinox
now only shorter days
hold the sunlight

drifting mists
revealing then concealing
play hide and seek

autumn pathway
a faded patchwork
of fallen leaves

yellow harvest moon
on a barren branch
an owl perches

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     The scent of late autumn fills the air—that of cypress and hoop pine—burning in the fireplaces and pot-bellied stoves of many homes. As the nights grow colder, doonas and down-filled quilts are removed from storage. It’s time again for the first flames of gold, orange and red to appear within the leaves of many trees.

Entering the driveway of the Happy Valley Nature Retreat, this panorama of colour has already begun, spreading through its majestic avenue of Liquid Amber trees. These mature trees must have been planted many years ago and like silent sentinels, they guard the entrance to the retreat.

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Liquidambars, (Liquidambar styraciflua) are native to North America where they are commonly known as the Sweetgum. A genus of four species of deciduous trees in the witch-hazel family, they are related to the Canadian maple. They also grow abundantly as a native throughout Australia and New Zealand. Here they are described as Liquid Amber, a name derived from the rich, fragrant gum which exhudes from each tree.  

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These trees have a conical, or the more frequently seen rounded form. Their leaves resemble the maple in that each leaf is five pointed and grows spirally from their twigs. In autumn, they change colour from green to gold, then orange, and finally to brilliant red.  As they die and are blown or fall from the tree, they create a radiant patch-work of colour, blanketing the ground below.  

These hardy trees are easily cultivated in any temperate climate. Their large size—25 metres or 82 feet high—make these beauties ideal for expansive gardens, parks, boulevard and street trees. Liquid Ambers prefer a position in full sun with deep loamy soil. They should be watered regularly and never pruned, as pruning will destroy their natural shape. Enjoy them for the beauty they provide, especially when they don their autumn coloured finery. They are always a delight to behold.

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The road that stretches before me is littered with a radiant patchwork of gold, crimson and russet. Yesterday’s sharp wind whined through the trees, shaking their branches, stripping and scattering all their coloured leaves. Today a gentle breeze brushes my face, filling the air with the last swirling leaves that settle over the ground. As I amble along on my walk I enjoy hearing their familiar swish and crunch under my feet.

Another stately procession also passes above me in the heavens: that of the Southern Cross … another yearly journey around that fixed, immutable point at the centre of the southern sky … another autumn.

Our Liquid Amber trees—Australia’s counterpart to the Canadian Maple—have now lost their leaves. Ahead on the pathway a last ruby leaf flutters to the ground and I bend down to retrieve it. Holding this five-pointed beauty and turning it over in my hand I admire its unique shape, the delicate tracings of its veins and the strong stem that once anchored it to the tree. Gazing back at the Liquid Amber it fell from, I realize that the tree is also one small part of a vast and intricate living system. 

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 A leaf transforms elements from its particular environment—sunlight, soil, carbon dioxide and rain—into nourishment for the entire tree. This exquisite and nearly weightless fallen leaf was a vital conduit to its branch, then to the trunk, and finally to its root system buried deep below. All living things inhale the oxygen produced by the tree’s respiration, which is inhaled back as carbon dioxide to nourish and sustain the tree. It’s impossible to know where one cycle begins and another ends.

 Another reason for this morning stroll includes an errand I must complete. A friend, away on a holiday, has asked me to drop a small package into her sister’s mailbox. “She won’t be home but will look for the package later. She  knows you are leaving it.” So in it goes, through the slot in a wooden barrel, now cleverly disguised as her mailbox.

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At one time the wood for this barrel was part of a forest. Someone was paid to cut and trim a tree into lumber and another to transport it to a workshop where a craftsman or cooper would construct the barrel. After its original use it now serves as a container to hold greetings from friends and family.

It’s good to see how much we recycle nature’s materials, rather than dispose of them. There is something special about dining at a table made from timber that once served as a bridge, spanning a stream. Come to think of it, I watch TV in an entertainment unit crafted from wood that previously housed horses in a stable.

One of nature’s gifts to us is this demonstration of the interdependence of all living things. Sun and rain, soil and water, oxygen and carbon dioxide provide all of us with the building blocks for our survival. Nothing can exist or thrive on its own and our entire planet is a vast web of living things, engaged in a spinning dance of relationships. Nature teaches us to be aware of these things, but only when we take the time to observe and delight in them.

 

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