Monday, October 19, 2009

The Gift from the Maple

Several years ago we had a perfect summer with ideal weather for maple trees.  As the days became shorter the back alley behind my shop filled with the most astonishing array of huge and colorful maple leaves:  red with yellow, yellow with green, green with red and yellow! These leaves blew into my alley from a tree which I assume is located several backyards away.  I  scooped up as many of these treasures as I could find, sorted through them to pick the most perfect, sprayed them with varnish (to bring out the colors) and then scanned them and made copies of various leaf arrangements.
I was new to the world of computers back then and I never saved the scans – all I have are prints on plain paper.  But I figured next fall I would do the same thing – this time saving the scans!  However the next year was a rainy, soggy one and to my great disappointment, the maple leaves all had big black spots on them apparently due to the excess levels of moisture.

And so it went for a number of years – I kept searching for some of those splendid maple leaves and every year all I found were the ugly black spots.  Each autumn had been a letdown - until this year.

One morning last week as I was putting out my sidewalk sign, there it was – the gift from the maple – one tiny perfect maple leaf:  only an inch across but with reds and yellows and greens!

I searched the alley and found a few regular size maple leaves with vibrant colors and one massive leaf still bright green, washed the dirt off of them, made a quick arrangement and took some photographs of them.

Whether this is the year I have been waiting for or not it doesn’t really matter. For that one tiny perfect maple leaf is the reward I have been seeking from a tree I have never even seen.

Thank you, maple tree – I have framed your tiny perfect gift in a tiny perfect frame.  (Well, I'm a framer - what else am I going to do?)