Dear Dogwood Leaf,
I hope this note finds you well. I was thinking of you yesterday. You had some reddish-purple splotches on you that looked a little bit like blood. It reminded me that you are not just about April. I forgot you had fall color....sorry about that. In a few weeks there will be a lot of attention paid to ginkgos, maples, sumacs, and other bright things. Bulletin boards, Halloween party invites, and Sunday paper circulars will probably not use dogwood leaves in their motifs this month. They will ignore you. The leaves in these advertisements of autumn will use red, yellow, and orange. They will use a color turned and not the real color of fall, the one that is always turning. Their ideal leaf will not have brown edges, spots, or crinkly parts.
But I shouldn't be so hard on these folks. Fall sometimes does feel like a calendar photo. It sometimes feels like it couldn't get any brighter or better. But that day makes me feel a little glum. Because too often we seem caught up in anticipation for the "peak of leaf season" and not the pre-peak, the subtle shift, the blood spots on a dogwood leaf. It's like late afternoon on Christmas.......Oh, am I rambling?
Anyway, thanks for making me notice you before the crush of colorful leaves come on and become the talk of town for the few short weeks that fall is at its prettiest. With Election Day fast approaching, it will feel even shorter. Your small-color contribution could be part of the reason why some folks say that fall is their favorite season. That is a lie. We all know that spring is loved best; and yes, I know, you are there for us then too. But I just wanted you to know that I appreciated the good work you are doing right now. Thanks.