This mid-October, in between staving off deadly microbes (that hand sanitizer seems too good to be true), debating whether Columbus is Friend or Foe (Frenemy?), reflecting on the global significance of the G20 summit (does teargas wash out of denim?) (see page 9), and wondering whether seasonal pumpkin beers are too shamefully effete for human consumption (yes but I won’t let it stop me), take a moment to shrug off temporal cares and smell the roses. Or, since roses aren’t in bloom this time of year, the leaves, which in Rhode Island are in the nascent stages of their transformation into the riotous colors that will provide the makers of Martha Stewart Home with an entire year’s worth of catchy paint monikers (a touch of "Gilded Endive" for the den?). If your folksy flannel’s in the wash and apple-picking demands too much forethought, never fear: all foliage-watching requires is a pair of eyes and moderate attunement to
Mother Nature’s bounty.
We’re just in time to chart the leaves’ transformation in full: while Maine and Vermont leaves are already in full color, trees in southern New England don’t reachtheir fiery finale until the end of October. The
showstopper across from the Fox Point Early Childhood Development Center on Hope and the Japanese maples by Sayles Hall are a couple of our current favorites on the East Side. If we get really into the dendrology spirit, a week or two from now we just may pack up some cider and spend a Saturday outdoors when the foliage is in full swing (Goddard Park in Warwick/East Greenwich, a couple exits down I-95, offers stone walls, open fields, and all the big fat trees we can feast our eyes on).
Science suggests we should enjoy it while we can: a thirty-year study released in January found that global warming has more than doubled the rate of tree death in American forests in the past several decades. While organizations like Providence 2020 do their part to encourage urban arboreal life by planting trees across the city, the least we can do is throw on our jackets and revel in nature’s splendor while it’s ours to share.
At least for the ten minutes we spend waiting in line for the swine flu vaccine.