We live on the third floor of an old apartment building on a quiet street lined with decades old chestnut trees. There are two slightly younger birch trees in our front yard that display their most gorgeous plumage right outside out windows. From late Spring to early Autumn we are hidden from the world within a canopy of green.
This time of the year the canopy is turning into the colours poets swoon over, the kind of colours that can be seen from the International Space Station about 387 kilometers above us. (an average between its perigee 376 km, and apogee 398 km, AMSL-Above Mean Sea Level)
It’s raining here in Vancouver today. About a meter from my window is a tiny olive green bird hanging upside down on a branch so thin it’s bent vertically with her weight. She’s no bigger than a half-grown mouse and yet she has this wisdom about her that encompasses the whole tree, all the trees on our block, and perhaps the one next to it as well.
There’s something that happens to the undersides of the tree’s leaves when it rains. It’s too small an event for the naked eye to see, but whatever it is, this little bird and her extended family are of the opinion that it’s a tasty treat.
There they are, dancing among the leaves, small enough to dodge the splats of water from the rain soaked sky that trickle down through the canopy. They flit from tree to tree making their way along the street until I can’t see them anymore, no matter how far out the window I lean to catch that last glimpse of their industry.
Autumn rain is a fickle thing here. The sun will shine out from the west and highlight the undersides of the clouds in liquid fire. There might even be a rainbow, and I might see a part of it beyond the city’s rooftops, if I’m lucky enough.
And . . . enjoy.
“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns” – George Eliot