The two red maples in our back yard put on the most glorious show in November each year. They turn scarlet all over, long after the other trees have shed their leaves in October. Against the bare branches of the surrounding woods, the maple's color is extraordinary.
This is a picture I took on November 12 in 2010.
The effect is so bright that the entire house lights up inside. On a sunny day in mid November, the indoors positively glows. At times it looks like the bathroom is on fire, and opening the shades in the morning causes panic at the sight of the back yard going up in flames.
I look forward to this spectacle each year, and the timing is always fabulous. The show starts just as the rest of the garden has faded and gone brown.
But not this year.
This year the fall color has been overcome by a combination of two unusual hard freezes in early October, Hurricane Sandy, and then a nor'easter storm last week that brought wind and wet snow (I've never seen that before -- heavy, sloppy, wet snow blowing sideways. What the?)
This year at the same time in November I took a picture. Last week's snow is gone, but what a sad sight this tree is, compared to other years. Here it is on November 11, 2012.
A year earlier a very bad storm broke off major branches so the shape of this tree is now awkward. And this year the fall leaves were frozen, blown, and shorn before any color could develop.
We are sorely disappointed.
Every year is different. Spring is even more unpredictable here, but every season brings its own unexpected delights and unforseen calamities. Another year will have to come and go. Both maples are healthy and branches will grow to fill in the broken shapes, new leaves will dress them up all summer, and they will color beautifully once again in fall. In a year.
Meanwhile, isn't it great that I have pictures to remind me of what I am waiting for. Here are a couple more from 2010.
Come back to my garden on November 12, 2013 and bring your sunglasses. These beautiful red maples will be in full color once again.