As we get more clothes from closets and attics, trees shed their leaves and stand gloriously nude. Like people, some seem to dance even as they stand still, showing their lives in the body gesture of limbs and response to gravity. Dancers hold themselves as if gravity were an option, and they might defy it at any moment. Some trees do the same, while others seem to embrace it and the ground beneath them. I am drawn right up to the trunks of many, and touch them quietly, reverently.
I'm never done looking at the lovely lines of trees when they begin budding in the spring. I step back from them, mentally and emotionally, as they add their green blossoms and leaves. I pick out the different species at seventy MPH from the highway, using the shades and textures.
Summer is when I watch trees move in the wind, and see them as masses of light and dark. I love lollipop trees in the summer, and the points on the tops of Tulip Poplars. I look to see trees in silhouette on the ridges of hills, or across large fields. Summer is probably when I enjoy trees at the greatest distance.
But in autumn I am drawn sharply closer again, and I lose the trees entirely in the distraction of the individual leaves. Their flights to the ground, the rush I get seeing leaves in the tiny twisters of fall, the colors of them against the sky or against the grass... I want to pick up hundreds and save them. It used to trouble me deeply that their colors couldn't be preserved, but now I just enjoy the splurge and let it pass.
Most leaves combine colors like masters, getting maximum impact and never clashing. Others, like the ash trees, combine colors that cancel each other, so the result from a distance looks like smoke or shadow without a form to cast it.
>>>> Appendix de Grenouille <<<< You have heard, perhaps, of the Welsh Rabbit (which some misname the Welsh Rarebit)? This is the pastel Etienne thinks of as the Cornish Rabbit, large and cheeky at Lands End, with the blue of the entire North Atlantic behind him to the West. He ages with grace in the stairway hall, even though he is drawn on nothing more glamourous than brown paper shopping bag... As the hibiscus blossom says in The Marzipan Pig, "We can't all be posh." He lacks even glass or a proper mat - but all love him and he is happy. Perhaps he is a cousin of the Velveteen Rabbit?