The trees of October are shedding their green. The lush and fecund green of summer is the brightest green, but also the first to go. It's saturation fades to a darker, duller, less vibrant hue than before, to a leathery green. Where once green was pervasive, a spot of brightness appears. As the days go by, fiery reds, blazing oranges, glowing yellows, even some burgundy shades overtake the pure greenness. The air becomes a swirl of color. The leaves flitter and fall, littering green grass with layers of gold and brown. Transitions are nature's way of telling us that change is the rule of the land.
Cities change in the way that the trees of October do. New buildings of brushed sandstone and marble begin to age; their bronze and chrome surfaces become coated in a patina of urban oxidation. Copper roofs turn turquoise and then to a muddy blue green. The mature buildings settle into a collective gray and sepia-toned cityscape whose outline is instantly recognizable. Until one day, when a building is shed and the urban landscape is forever changed.
There on the corner, wasn't there a building, a bank, a hotel, or was it a restaurant? I remember it was there, I think, but now it is gone. Then yet another building is shed, further uptown, and soon a new, bright and shiny structure stands where it once stood. Sometimes a vanquished building leaves an outline of itself on the wall surface of an abutting building. You can see where the staircase stood and how many floors it had. When the cavity is filled, that pentimento is obscured and the memories of its existence begin to fade. With each construction a new cityscape is formed.
Change and transition make us want to cling to what once was, just as we want to cling to summer when we sense the approach of winter. But trying to cling to what once was is like trying to catch raindrops in your hands. Your hands will be wet with moments of the past as the storm water washes over and around you, but the storm can't stop for you to gather more drops as it swirls towards its onward journey.
Remember the trees of October, when the last leaf falls to the ground and snow blankets the leaf-covered earth, that captured beneath those layers, and in the memory of those trees, there resides the promise of a future. A promise to be realized, when the trees burst forth with the buds of April, that life will always move forward. Transitions.
I joined Writers Bloc, a group of writers from Monmouth County, NJ, whose styles are as diverse as their backgrounds and interests. Here are some of my writings from our meetings.