Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Stragglers Postpone the Inevitable

As far as holidays go, Thanksgiving is relatively virtuous.

Unsullied by the tempestuous filth and debauchery of Halloween and the crazy, crowd-crushing consumerism that infects the entire month of December, Thanksgiving's focus on turkey and family seems quaint.

We call Autumn "Fall" because we envision colorful leaves becoming brittle and either falling or being swept by wind to the ground. The temperature drops, the sun becomes elusive, the once-verdant leaves blush brilliantly in a grand finale before deciding to move on. They are just visitors here.

Really, though, these visitors are being pushed out the door, having overstayed their welcome at first flush. Just as honeybee colonies ruthlessly murder their big, dumb drones when summer ends, so too do trees shed their functional flourishes when they render themselves useless.

Without enough daylight to warrant the existence of leaves, those fanciful sunlight-eaters, trees are content to remain naked throughout the coldest months to conserve as much energy as possible. So it turns out that leaves, like drones, are simultaneously necessary and superflous elements to the existence of their respective wholes.

So it is December. Still Fall until the 21st, but December nonetheless, and December is filed under "Winter." But it has been so warm here in New York City that plants are slow to die.

Trees hesitate to expel their leaves. Delicate herbs are untouched by frost, and some confused trees are even mistakenly budding!

To me, the tragedy will be that much greater when Jack Frost does draw his icy sword and indiscriminately destroy all life, old and new.

The wise ones gave up the fight months ago and pass from this season to the next with grace and delicate beauty.

When will the magnolia tree notice the low sun?

She continues to bud in blissful ignorance of the winter sky.

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