After 2 nights last week with temperatures near freezing, the trees have now gotten the message that autumn is here. In the past week, the colors have exploded on the trees in Amherst, combining vibrant yellows, reds and oranges with the greens of trees yet to turn and the browns of leaves past.
My neighbor paused to speak to me this evening, and mentioned that the maple tree in our front yard is looking very beautiful. I had noticed the orange trees up the street and the red trees down the street, but it is hard to get a full view of the tree right in our front yard. So I took the opportunity to walk up the street just as the Sun was setting.
As I walked, I looked down at the beautiful red and orange and yellow maple leaves at my feet -- small red leaves with yellow edges, orange leaves with dark spots, solid yellow leaves, deep red leaves with black veins, and even some leaves which look as if they were painted with a full array of colors.
I love collecting colorful leaves in the autumn, and then I press them in the huge Webster's Unabridged Dictionary -- where they stay until I retrieve them, dried and in full color. And I know it is autumn when I collect leaves every time I go for a walk.
When color xerox machines were first invented, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them. I took the colorful autumn leaves I had collected, made a collage of them, and then made color xerox reductions of the beautiful array of autumn colors. Leaves that themselves had never been found together in nature or turned color at the same time could be displayed together, and the xerox would never fade like the leaves themselves. I had found a way to preserve autumn. And since then I have continued, year after year, to collect whatever colorful leaves I come across in my wanderings.
So now I can say that autumn is here -- the trees are in color, the air smells rich and damp, the days are cooler, the Sun is setting earlier, and the time is here for me to collect leaves. Welcome autumn!