link to leaf photos
22 October, 2000

Dear Friend,

. . . These days the trees burn yellow against the blue sky. Their limbs are laden with gold, red, green, and rust. Each magnificent leaf shakes in the wind, anticipating retirement. The leaves tumble to earth, carpet the ground. Soon we'll be raking. In the meantime, such glory!
. . . Extremely near-sighted, I abandon my glasses to hold one leaf after another a few inches from my eyes. I have no need of a magnifying glass. The veins branch from the stem and those branches branch until they are too small for even me to see. Color saturates the leathery flesh. Held up to the sun, this flesh is translucent. It glows.
. . . The twelve leaves you'll see on my website are a fraction of those I've photographed the last few days. The maple trees in our yard (swamp maples?) are generating thousands upon thousands of miniature works of art that blaze brilliantly. Photographing them is a way of taking time to better appreciate a few of them and, in a way, preserving and sharing their beauty.
. . . Look at these leaves! Each one is worthy of praise. How then are we to comprehend the multitude? It's enough to make you want to read Walt Whitman's poetry or, worse, write poetry! Me, I grabbed my camera instead and let the pixels do the talking.
. . . Then, late Friday afternoon, because Barbara arrived home early, we walked to Naaman's Creek to enjoy the woods, the rocks, and the water. Most of the leaves still cling to the trees but only a few of the trees are brilliant. It's not like walking through a shining grove of aspen trees in the fall in the Rocky Mountains. Still, there's so much color that our walk along the creek is slow. Repeatedly, we stop to enjoy the new sight before us. Every few feet we find some new sight to hold our eyes and stop our feet.
. . . How is it that the world offers such beauty? How is it that we are created in such a way to appreciate it? If each leaf is a masterpiece, each tree beyond comprehension, some response is called for, some kind of exultant humility, some kind of whispered alleluia.
. . . I know -- let's rake the leaves into a pile and jump on it! Let's walk through drifts of leaves and make that crinkling sound with our feet heard only in October! Let's throw bunches into the air and watch them fall again!

Twelve Leaves: A Portfolio
Each one worth a moment's contemplation.

Naaman's Creek in Autumn
Six images from a pleasant walk.

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Sunday, October 15, 2000.

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Text and photos copyright 1999-2000 Danny Nelson Schweers