Most normal people visit their neighbors on those days when a bit of loneliness or boredom hits. I am different. I visit my neighbor’s trees. Yesterday I pulled up to the curb at the house a couple doors away from me because I had noticed the Tulip Magnolia seemed to be at the embryonic bud phase.
I had never noticed this part of the process before so I was excited to take a photo and later, perhaps go back with my sketch book. I excitedly grabbed my camera and then I noticed her car, backing out of the driveway.
Luckily I hadn’t stepped out of the car yet so I could pretend I was just stopping at the stop sign.
She has caught me out there before.
Sometimes I wish I was like everybody else and then I remember, trying to do that almost did me in.
It was my reward for getting Samuel off to school quickly, efficiently and without a single whiney complaint from him: photographing a couple of my neighborhood trees that were doing things I found interesting.
There are the two exact same trees, I believe some sort of Maple, whose leaves are completely different colors. I was most attracted to the one whose leaves had turned red and were almost all on the ground.
Her neighbor and seemingly twin had identical leaves from what I, the non-botanist, could tell, but the leaves were all yellow or green and were slower to fall.
The only difference, I surmised, was that the red one lived in a different patch of grass and soil because there was a walkway between them. Did one side get more water than the other? When the lawn was laid did one side get different soil, or did one of them have deeper roots so her roots went deeper into the soil, hitting a different kind of color changing nutrient?
Most normal people say “Oh, look, yellow leaves.” Or “Hey, that tree has red leaves and wow, there aren’t many left on it.”
That is if they notice at all.
I was attracted to the red leaves specifically because of the sparseness of them on the tree.
It made me feel like that tree needed some extra photographic love and perhaps a blanket.
I only did the photography, I did not leave a blanket.
My neighborhood looked different to me when I didn’t notice the trees and plants that I shared it with every day of my life. Now that I “know” them, I see my neighborhood differently.
It adds sweetness, grace and color to my life. See my photo there, in my essay's signature? That is me, writing underneath that Tulip Magnolia that is now budding. The leaves will burst into full glory in Febuary. I can't remember if my neighbor was actually home when we took those photos.
What trees live in your neighborhood?
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