Monday, November 06, 2006

I "Break" for Foliage

This weekend I dragged my friend V on an "autumn walk" with me, convinced that if we just took the right combination of public transportation, we would find the colorful turning leaves of my childhood in New England. V gently reminded me that we are in France, not Massachusetts, and although the "global village" may make the world seem smaller, stubborn geographical differences remain -- and this includes trees. Apparently in France there aren't as many of the kinds of trees that radically turn color, at least not near Paris.

We took the train to Fontainebleau anyway, since it was the easiest place to get to without much advance planning. No, it wasn't the foliage extravaganza I'd been hoping for, but the chateau and gardens were beautiful under the hazy november sun. And I developed a fondness for those little cone-tree things. I felt like we were in a royal game of Candyland.

On the way back to the train I did have one authentic foliage moment, with a small maple tree in someone's backyard. I stood there looking up at the golds and oranges and suddenly remembered being four years old in Toledo, Ohio, making a warm fort out of a huge pile of leaves while the temperature hovered near zero...I remembered Halloween and that ill-fated witch's outfit my mother made me with the heavy cardboard hat that was as large as a freeway cone and which I had to hold onto my head with two hands (thus making it impossible to collect candy)...I remembered landscapes of red and yellow and green and brown and purple, seen from a car window on the way to get cider and donuts (the best food in the world up to that moment)...

It's truly amazing how happy autumn makes me, and how even one tree can bring back whole forests of memories...! Posted by Picasa


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