Sun through thin, high clouds—enough to make the last few scarlet oak crowns glow. An ambulance wails through the gap.
Clear and cold. A squirrel joins the sun at the top of a scarlet oak Dad and I planted 25 years ago, now laden with acorns.
Yet another bright blue October day a month late. The scarlet oak Dad and I planted 25 years ago is in its glory, redder than the sunrise.
The wind sounds even colder hissing through the leaves that still cling to an oak at the woods’ edge. I pull down my cap against the sun.
There’s a new hole in the hornets’ nest—flying squirrel? The scarlet oak we transplanted from the woods years ago is starting to color up.
The stream’s dark thread. A jay pierces it with his bill three times. The scarlet oak I planted so long ago is flying all its red flags.
The red and scarlet oaks have finally turned their namesake colors, and the whole ridge shines like a fresh gut pile in the sun.
Backlit by the sun, the one branch of marcescent oak leaves at the woods’ edge looks like a bough of orange flowers, old before their time.
Warm morning after a cold night, and the oaks are shedding leaves: a dry sound as they hit lower branches, like the ticking of many clocks.
Color is creeping into the tall oaks: here a splash of deep orange, there a branch gone burgundy, and just above, a pale smudge of sun.
Oaks sway in the wind, their leaves gleaming in the strong sunlight. Acorns rattle down. A snatch of migrant birdsong I can’t quite place.
The first phoebe is finally back, chanting his name in the barnyard. Marcescent leaves of a scarlet oak glow orange, back-lit by the sun.