Monday, February 2, 2009

Autumn Leaves in January

I was driving down State Road 528 last Thursday on my way to the airport. This particular 4-lane toll road has many maple trees along its corridor. That day, they were blazing in their fall color glory. In the middle of winter.

The Florida Maple trees had previously misinterpreted the long warm weeks of December and early January and decided that spring had arrived, so they set on fresh green leaves. One night last week, we had our first "freeze" in several years here in central Florida with temperatures dipping below 32F and staying there for a few hours. The maples were forced into a second "fall".

The beauty of a maple tree in full fall color is a true treat, especially in ever-green Florida. As I cruised along the highway, the maples were lined up like runway models showing off their fall fashions. And in one particularly spectacular stand of trees, a younger slimmer maple had managed to hold on to its spring leaves and provided a spectacular contrast of chartreuse green to the fiery reds and oranges. Add to that a trio of fat wild turkeys foraging in the underbrush and I was provided a moment of temporal displacement, reliving colder northern climes.

Well, no, not really, but isn't that prettily poetic. And yes, there was a trio of turkeys. And, with a particularly strong gust of crosswind, a scattering of red leaves whooshed over my windshield, providing the perfect fall moment. In January.

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