Except for a handful of exotics here and there, we’re about out of fall color here in Washington State.
Great. Just in time for all that extra darkness.
Many folks I know are working hard to adjust their habits or their personal environments, trying to stay one step ahead of seasonal gloom. And even though I’m a very un-SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) person, I find myself doing my own version of this on my walks, snapping photos of whatever brightness I can find during a sunbreak in an otherwise dingy forest.
But what about when there is no sun? We have a LOT of those days here in the Pacific North-wet.
Ugh, why even bother to go out? Just plug in the Christmas lights.
I won’t dignify that question with a response, except to say this: today, on one of the greyest, most monochromatic days of the year, I made a startling discovery about light. Shining light. Turns out, our most emblematic native tree, the madrona, practically glows on days like these.
Now, this particular tree (on my neighbors’ property) is one I’ve loved for two decades; I even adopted its crazy loopy branches as my emblem when I became an author. (That’s another story.)
But my POINT is, despite a close relationship with this tree, I had never really thought about how its bark gleams when wet.
And not just “my” tree–any madrona! Red or green, there’s just something about their surface, more skin than bark, that turns to spotlit satin in the rain.
After rhapsodizing for a while over what’s been under my nose for years upon rainy years, I headed home…and stopped dead at a patch of salal. Guess what?
So. Moral of the story: in this greyest of seasons in this greyest of regions, there’s plenty of light out there. All we have to do is accept the gift of gleam where we find it.
Anyone else have their own version of “the gleam”–maybe in a region much different from mine? Please share a description!
This is such a lovely post, Gretchen. And a good reminder to look for and celebrate the light, wherever we find it. I miss the beautiful madrone! And I’m grateful that although we don’t have madrone, we have plenty of sunshine here in Florida. Wishing you bright holidays.
Thanks, Laurel! Soak up some of that “real” sunny gleam for us. Incidentally, we’ve learned that November was our wettest on record, after the driest July ever. Climate change much? Sigh…