Photo by Jenny Frederick
Last week I asked my fifth grade Mountain School students how they would describe the color of a Vine maple leaf. This is not a question I would have asked before moving here, to the North Cascades Institute. I used to think that leaves turned brown, orange, yellow or red. There were no variations to these colors. Now I see the leaves differently. I feel this sense of connection, intimacy that comes with knowing and learning a place. I watch the leaves change each day, lamenting and celebrating the change of colors, wondering how long they will persist, and theorizing how they will change in the days to come.
I now describe the leaves as mottled brown and yellow, red with streaks of yellow, pale yellow brushed with a hint of brown, deep burgundy ringed with green, sunshine yellow, and sometimes transparent pale gold leaves with flecks of brown.
It is not as easy to describe the color of a Vine maple leaf as I once thought, it is a change of perspective that I relish.