Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fall Without Color

Not long ago, Julie asked me, as we walked out to the bus one morning, "Do willow trees lose their leaves?"

This was a question that has stuck with me over the past several weeks, for a couple of reasons. For one thing, there are a ton of willows around here. So what will they actually look like as the seasons go around?

More generally, there are a lot of trees around here, willows included, that have maintained their green hues deep into the fall. As September turned into October, and October into November, it was striking how little change there was in the landscape of trees. There they all stood, pretty much as green as they had ever been.

Sure, there's the occasional tree that has turned bright orange or yellow. And sure there are places here and there with concentrations of brilliant colors. But, overall, Beijing's dominant hue has remained green throughout this time of oncoming winter.

Then, all of a sudden, in the past week or so, it has begun to look much more stark outside. Winds have kicked up, and leaves have started blowing off the trees. The end result? Not only bare trees (a familiar sight to us), but also green leaves laying on the ground (definitely weird to our eyes).

So, yes, Julie. It seems as if willow trees do lose their leaves. It's just that they kind of go straight from being green to being swept up by the passing groundskeepers. Another little Beijing te se...

~Steve

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