’tis Autumn

Autumnal with PrideThe trees, they are tired. They’ve borne too much fruit — so says the song. In Southern California, Autumn is different than, say Wisconsin, where October and November bring with them a massive denuding of foliage, turning magisterial maples into plaintive skeletons. The leaves drop, everywhere, covering driveways and lawns, and the mood is generally bleak, befitting the onset of the cold winter months bereft of sustained sunshine.

In Los Angeles, the sycamores are dropping their leaves, and some of the other hardwoods seem to be half-heartedly shedding their greenery. But here it is mid-November and the landscape around Hollywood is startlingly emerald. The sky is a slightly lighter shade of blue, as though the edges of the horizon have already been touched by frost. But a transplanted Midwesterner would be hard pressed to look at the verdant plant life in Los Angeles and conclude that we are on the cusp of winter. Garden View

Perhaps the most curious phenomenon in my little garden is that many of the trees are just now bursting forth with soon-to-be-ripened fruit. The song “’tis Autumn” suggests that trees need a nap in the Fall after so much productivity during the Summer. But my orange, lemon, and banana trees (and tomato vines) seem to have gathered strength during the hot months, willing themselves toward a fruitful climax during the chilliest time of year. The roses are still making flowers every week, too. And the birds refuse to fly south, not when there’s so much thistle seed available for munching.

With fewer hours of sunlight each day, all the living things are supposed to grow less, or die. Thanks to the geographical quirk that made L.A.’s high-desert temperament intimate with an ocean, life goes on here with inspiring determination, oblivious to the dictums of seasonal weariness

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