I have been particularly enamored with big leaf maples this past year or so. I'm not sure why now, I've been surrounded by them my whole life here in the Northwest but for some reason last year I went from pleasantly complacent to privately obsessed ... with each subtle change in color from week to week all year round, the variations of color in each tree from top to bottom, the mere size of each leaf.
I have been especially obsessive this past month, making notes in my head about every change I see and every color I perceive. I've been totally geeking out on this. So on a little walk last week I decided to gather some to photograph and scan for color inspiration, and eventually draw them. I meticulously gathered and neatly stacked each leaf, only the most perfect specimens showing the myriad of color variation and pattern, from vibrant lime to fluorescent gold to gorgeous coppery burnt sienna. Oh boy this would be fun. How cool was this. Oh yeah. I hummed and smiled at myself, I was just so pleased by this plan. I told you. Geeking out. Totally.
I brought the neat and tidy stack of brightly colored leaves into the house and set them down.
And that's usually where this sort of thing ends. You know how even the best intentions can often dry out, curl up, turn brown, and eventually get dusty.
I have passed this brown pile of leaves a thousand times this past week and haven't really focused on them. Today I stopped and smirked at them for a second, thinking they sort of sum up my entire month of October in the same way that this little sketch seemed to sum up this past July.
That wasn't meant to sound devastating or melodramatic, there was just a lot of stuff going on.
So, usually, this is where I beat myself up gently and move on. Oops. Missed that chance. Geez Beth, that was a waste. Oh well, off to the compost pile, let's get this out of the way. But then I took a closer look at the brown stack of leaves.
I mean, I realize that most people on this entire side of the earth are trudging through piles of rotting brown things that look exactly like this, raking and blowing the buggers out of their way ... there is nothing special or different about these dying pieces of plant material I have ignored for a week.
Just some brown leaves.
It might not be what I had intended to document, but I was (maybe not so surprisingly) still smitten with them, even after the sunny bright splashes of color had faded.
Nothing wrong with a plain old brown leaf, I guess.
As for good intentions, I suppose even dry, dusty ones can get a second chance to shine.