Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Of trees and leaves.

Today was my weekly walk-and-eat-pizza with my friend and her two sons. She's one of my writing friends (and a cater-cousin, actually; my mother has practically adopted her so she can get some extra grandchildren), and it's nice to get out and get some air and synthesize some Vitamin D with someone who understands the rigors of the craft herself from practical application. I mean, I've got friends who are writers, too, but none of them are doing the freelance thing or write for money (other than cater-cousin). When I whine, they take it as an indication I need to change back to a desk job, she understands I'm just engaging in your typical office-place whining. Heck, she works for the same place I do, she whines with me.

Just like being back in an office.

Anyway, we found some autumn beauty today.

She also informed me (correctly or incorrectly I do not know, but I choose to accept her statement as reasonable -- let me know if she's got it wrong) that the trees in Europe don't do these beautiful colors. The leaves just go brown and fall. It has something to do with the wide swings in temperature we get (from 55 F to 85 F from midnight to 4 in the afternoon), which I thought were only good for degrading pavement (I do know that most Europeans don't get potholes like we do -- the ones big enough to break your axle or lose a small dog in -- and I hate them for it. Or, rather, I hate my parents for being American and subjecting me to such concrete depravity.)

Is that really so? Are you denied the glories of popsicle orange (I didn't see any on our walk, but the orange ones are my favorites), screaming yellow and hot reds just because of the crappy climate we have here?

I loved these leaves, the red is just glorious. And they look so perfect, as if each one has been hand painted in preparation for the fall. Soooo pretty.

And we aren't even at peak color yet! Since I have the free time, I might even go to the scenic bits of the state and fetch back some pictures of color. Just because it's incredible, and if anyone out there doesn't get it first hand, they at least deserve to see it second hand.

And if there are any botanists out there, does anyone know what THIS:
is? We pass it weekly, and she sees them daily on her walks (we walk in her neighborhood, due to the proximity to the world's best pizza) but doesn't know what they are. They've got the bright red branches and purple berries smaller than grapes. She was wondering if they were elderberries, but I really am out of my depth here. I kill plants just by thinking about getting one, I try to avoid thinking too much on matters plant. It's very pretty, though.



Deb said...

These are pokeberries. The birds like them, but I don't think they're edible for humans.

I just checked Wikipedia and they're poisonous to mammals, but not to birds.

People have used them to make dyes.

Silver Phoenix said...

Thank you! I recognized them as something used to dye fiber, but couldn't remember what they were.

And thank you for letting me know they are poisonous. Her toddler wants desperately to eat them, but she stops him. I'm very glad now I can tell her that she's very, very right to do so!