Tuesday, November 18, 2008
We used to get fall around Halloween, but that didn't happen this year. It's fall now in Claremont. The big elms along the street in front of Memorial Park shed yellow leaves the size of lemons, and they swirl lazily in the air as they fall on passing cars. The tulip trees had a few yellow leaves near the trunks last week, but this week all but a few leaves have turned yellow. The sweet gums, or liquidambers, turn red, orange, or yellow at what seems random. In my front yard, one is green but for one branch of yellow leaves, and the other was dark red but has lost almost all its leaves. The gum balls on its nearly bare branches dot the sky. These two are as close to being in the same environment as possible, but act quite differently every fall. There are lots of eucalyptus trees, still green and always will be. But I try not to drive under them now, because in the driest part of the year, they might drop a branch and clobber me. The wood is terribly dense and the tree has evolved this mechanism to get rid of some of its substance when water is very limited. Too bad for any person passing beneath.