Red Maple, 2006
There is a magic moment that comes once a year. It’s brief and if you’re out of town for a few days you could miss it completely.
We’re in that time right now.
It’s the time when the leaves on the maple tree outside my window turn from green with just a twinge of red to bright red for just a few days before turning brown and falling off the tree.
My father had a neighbor who had several red maples in his front yard. Whenever I admired them, Dad declared with a fatherly finality that made his intentions completely clear, “The leaves are a pain in the neck.” Actually, he didn’t say “neck,” but you get the drift.
I had to hold my tongue about this because Dad’s yard was full of pine trees. Anyone who spent a lot of their youth raking pine needles knows pine needles are far more insidious, tree-for-tree, than red maple leaves, and a no easier to rake up. Pine needles get into everything. Red maple leaves add color and interest to anywhere they fall.
This maple outside my window leafs out in the spring about as quickly as it goes red in the fall. But it is the fall that this tree thrills the most. The colors of the leaves of the other trees in our yard vary from year to year based on rain and other climate conditions. But this red maple never disappoints. Sometimes my wife and I sit out in the backyard on crisp fall afternoons just so we can watch this one tree sway in the breeze.
I’ll save you the labor of enduring the usual clichés about red trees and simply say I’m a sucker for red and I love this tree.