Autumn’s colors delight once again

Work with rakes can’t be far behind

By The Mercury

Here’s hoping you got a chance to enjoy the reds, oranges, purples, yellows and assorted combinations of color in trees and shrubs in the last week or two. Given Wednesday’s winds and the gusts forecast for today and perhaps tomorrow, the best part of the annual autumn show may have come and gone.

On the bright side, folks who enjoy raking leaves can count on sunshine, relative warmth and the fact that the KSU-West Virginia game doesn’t start until 6 p.m. Saturday to make for a productive day in the yard.

But we digress. The wind won’t strip all the trees, of course; there will be ample color a bit longer. That’s good, because some of the sugar maples and red maples have become utterly spectacular. Elms, which seem predisposed to lose their leaves too quickly, and sweetgums, which offer a kaleidoscope of color, are in fine form. Complementing the trees are the brilliant red of burning bushes, the unique hues barberries and other shrubs.

Each neighborhood has its share of fall color; that’s a tribute to the taste and vision of individual homeowners, who in making their own selections over the years contribute to the collective community colorfest.

We’ve been particularly struck in the past week by the huge cottonwood in CiCo Park along Dickens Avenue. Until the wind picked up and leaves started to flutter away, the towering tree resembled a giant yellow light bulb that, viewed from the west in the afternoon sun, positively glowed.

Happily, even individual trees that don’t boast impressive color contribute to natural landscapes that almost look staged against the backdrop of our October-blue skies.

Soon enough, however, this colorful season, which began about the time the Virginia creeper snaking up mature trees turned red, will yield to the browns and grays of winter. We’ll swap our rakes for snow shovels and our jackets for winter coats, and we’ll haul out the gloves and scarves.

Many of us will hope for a warm winter while hoping it has nothing to do with climate change, and we might even dream about a snowfall that turns lawns into Christmas cards but somehow misses roads and sidewalks.

In the meantime, we’d do well to make the most of these October days, enjoying the cooler air and the lingering color as the season changes.

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