The November street cleaning makes me crazy. I watch the white signs on sticks approach our street as I look up at the stunning leaf-filled maples next to our house. I send a silent wish toward the cleaning crews — go away, leave us for last. It never works. We’ll be cleaning our street weeks after the first snow flies or we’ll be slipping on frozen leaves until spring. Ah, Minnesota.
As I drove around the neighborhood in mid-November, I looked through trees with bare branches and others, oaks and maples, with vibrant colored leaves that tint how I saw the sky, the world, the season. By the time you read this we may have had one of those surreal mornings of branches glazed with frost. You know the magic of those mornings whether you’re 11 or 91. How can something so small — an ever so thin layer of ice on a piece of dormant wood — look like it was made by fairies?
It’s the trees. I know we live in the state of 10,000 lakes and a city where we measure the distance around them and between them. But without the trees to set them off, wouldn’t those irregular shaped water things look rather blah?
This is the season of magic some say. We take in that magic in many ways.
Kids marvel at the changes of seasons, from the piles of fallen leaves to the piles of fallen snow.
As I raked the leaves in my yard, my dog, Chico, watched me. To him I was literally changing the face of the earth. A miracle. One moment the ground is covered with odd shaped things that had fallen from the sky. The next, I transform it to a clear space where he can chase the squirrels before they hibernate. If his mind doesn’t reel, it should.
The earth tilts and the season changes. What better miracle can you think of?
Yes, it is the season of miracles. I think of nature’s miracles, while some prefer a grander scale, one of heavenly powers. No matter. The important part is looking for the miracles — if they be the saffron colored leaves of the last days of fall or the misty morning ice show of branches. I’m grateful. I celebrate the joys I see around me.
Have you noticed that “tree” is in the middle of the word “street?” Maybe that’s why they work together so spectacularly. Tree covered streets. Streets with trees. And why we miss them so much when one more deadly tree disease, a wicked ice storm or a tornado blows the combination apart.
When one flies over the Twin Cities in the greener seasons of the year that is exactly what you see — green. The trees fill the landscape out the small plane window and the lakes accentuate the land with their blueness. The combination of green and blue defines how the universe sees our tiny planet.
I can’t imagine living in a place without the magic of seasons and of water. I know from visiting deserts, tropical forests and sun-swept beaches that other terrains have their magic, too. But our magic turns the earth from warm to cold, from summer barbeques to snow forts, from bathing suits to snow suits, from worshipping the sun to praising the winter solstice changeover from darkness to light.
In this crazy season, when we’re running around for weeks to get ready for a few days of family, food and hopes for peace, let us not forget the trees, the now cold and almost frozen water, and the miracles surrounding us.
Count all your blessings.
Welcome Jerde is a new columnist for the Southwest Journal. She lives in Lynnhurst with her husband, Dan Berg, a dog, two cats, and occasionally, Hannah, a college student.