Oak Trees.

November 18, 2021

I wish I could duplicate nature’s blend of browned oak tree leaves with the slumbering grayed bark of the same species. Mild temperatures and lack of persistent hard freezes have stunned leaves to cling to limbs which gave up weeks ago.

From the mightiest of oaks to the tiniest, cocoa brown leaves flicker in the wind. They tinkle like the wave of a fine boa or the feathers of a great bird. But these are oak trees which now stand fully clothed with their leafy canopies well into an extra month. Normally they would stand bare except for a beginning white blanket of snow.

The grass too remains in color. Its greenness belies the season which knocks at our doorstep. “Winter, winter, where are you?”

I don’t remember an autumn season like this one. I am sure that I have seen oak trees with the brownest of brown leaves standing with bark uniforms of grey. It must have happened before, but I do not remember it.

I don’t remember a time when the sun dipped low into the November sky but the days filled with September’s warm temperatures. This autumn has been the most confusing of seasons.

Over and over, the oaks would catch my eye. As I drove, I would search for them. The deep brown of an entire tree’s leaves caught me mixing colors in my head. Their color was as if the leaves themselves had baked into fine crusted rye bread or had blended into a rich coffee.

I had played with the painting of them. To mix paints in such a color, the brown surrounded by deep greens of evergreens and the greyness of bared maples and poplars. Or my head savored the browns playing with true blue skies.

A Mind of Hiding.

In the last month, I found myself searching as I drove to work. Then I found myself driving purposely to search for those trees. Either way, I also realized that all I wanted in my alone time was the pursuit of photogenic trees. That is all.

Days flew by. Weeks. I realized then that within the drive to find a specific oak tree, I had also satisfied a need to hide myself. Losing myself among trees has always appealed to me, but this pursuit satisfied my need to hide.

There is a saying – well actually even stronger, a Bible verse – which advises the shining of one’s light. G~d does not build within each of us a lantern, only to have it hidden.

No, I felt no need to hide myself for hiding sake. But I did feel the need to hide to know my own light. Perhaps that is the worst case of self-deception, I am not sure. But I hid within my own ramblings.

Perhaps the time was my way of getting directed. I searched for oak trees. I thought without thinking of thought.

At least that is the best way I can describe these weeks. So full of the world my life has been. Each day, people upon people. Every day, letting go of the world to search the trees.

And then…I started making up my mind. I had looked at my light, I had searched the trees, and I had stilled my world in the moments when I could.

And then…the snows returned…

Thank you. And, with you, goes my love.

~stephanie, tbd.

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