November4 min read by, with images by, , and
The bright, warm colours of countless maple trees lit up the cloudy cold sky of Toronto. Canadian fall is in bloom. It wouldn’t last, as the leaves are soon to drift towards the ground, crumble and become earth. Gone from the branches, hidden underneath the white snow.
Red, orange and yellow maple leaves. They remind me of my walks with grandpa a long while ago, as a child in Russia. Together, we’d pick the best looking leaves and preserve them inside of a book, so that they dry flat and beautiful.
Later, as a young adult, I’ve experienced my Canadian university years with a mix of discovery, stress, loneliness and joy.
One quiet evening I went for a walk to clear my head. It was longer than usual as it led to the back of the campus where laid the nature trail. A long forest strip that towered over a ravine looking down onto Credit River. The place struck a chord with me; it felt special.
Some time after graduation, my girlfriend and I came back to that forest and I carved our names into a tree.
As I write this I wonder, how tall might that tree be now? Can we still reach and touch our names in the bark?
Weather. The inertia and gravity that carries our planet around our star alters the weather on all continents. With it the habits, locations and lifestyles of most living things everywhere spiral onto the next cycle.
People aren’t trees. We can and do change our location, climate. We get to see, experience and reflect on our surroundings. We are all one kind; collectively we exist everywhere there’s air.
The flow of time and rate of change is not the same everywhere. I used to live in the north, where the leaves would turn yellow and fall, eventually leaving the trees barren but ready for the winter’s cold.
I’m in a different place now, different time. There are no maple trees. Though the fall still visits me every year.
Nowadays November is a transition from a relatively cold rain season into cold dry season. Some trees will turn yellow and loose leaves a few months later to battle the heat and the drought which would kill them if they don’t let the foliage go.
The new climate is warmer, though there are no spectacular colour changes.