Here in the northern forested hills of South Carolina, the leaves never fell off some of the trees last fall. Those dried out husks hung on all winter, waiting for something to happen but I’m not sure what. Now it’s the first week of Spring, and they haven’t let go yet. When the late afternoon sunlight hits them just right, they are beautiful.
I am entranced by them as I hike the trails here at Paris Mountain State Park. The golden husks are everywhere, the only color in a sea of brown since the green leaves of Spring have yet to make an appearance. I’ve been playing with the light all week, trying to capture in images what so delights me about them.
Maybe it’s that I’m used to a sea of green in forests, not a swath of gold. It’s unexpected, to round a bend in the trail and see a forest of gold ahead. Or maybe there’s a lesson in those leaves about getting old enough that you’re beautiful despite being out of season.
I was chatting online with a friend and she said “maybe I’ll join you in five years.” I counted ahead and thought, holy carp, in five years, I’ll be 70. That sounds OLD. But then again 65 sounded really old when I was 50. I guess you adjust as you get older. I kind of hope I’ll be like these leaves, beautiful in their own way, surviving the winter by just hanging on.
When you’re young, there’s so much now that you can’t take it in. It’s pouring over you like a waterfall. When you’re older, it’s less intense, but you’re able to reach out and drink it. I love being older.