At the end of September, various circumstances combined to prevent me from visiting my Mono (Acer pictum ssp. mono), the tree I’m following this year, but I did manage to pay it a visit on 19 October. And I’m so glad I did, as I managed to get some photos of it in all its autumn glory, before last weekend’s storm-force winds blew most of its leaves off.
So, here it is on 19 October, a blaze of orange loveliness …
A closer shot of the leaves still on the tree, and another looking up through the canopy from underneath.
Some close-ups of the leaves on the ground. I love the variety of colours in these.
And here’s Mono on 2 November, a shadow of its former gloriousness, though what remains is a lighter, more yellow colour than before. It’s interesting to note, too, how more leaves remain on the left side of the tree, presumably because that side is a little more shaded and sheltered.
Soon, all that will remain will be this carpet of leaves below the tree and skeletal branches above.
Here’s a word that’s not in the Oxford Dictionary because it’s now considered obsolete but, as Oxford University Press has a habit of somewhat arbitrarily removing words from its dictionaries (since 2007 it was deleted words like ‘buttercup’ and acorn’ from its Junior Dictionary) and replacing them with modern lingo (like ‘cut-and-paste’ and ‘analogue’), I’m doing my bit to revive words before they’re forgotten.
Psithurism, then, is a noun used to describe the sound of rustling leaves. It is, apparently, an adaptation of the Ancient Greek ψιθύρισµα (psithurisma) or ψιθυρισµός (psithurismos), which are derived from ψιθυρίζω (psithurizō, meaning ‘I whisper’) and from ψίθυρος (psithuros, meaning ‘whispering’ or ‘slanderous’). Can you hear them rustling? And, here’s a little test: what’s the word for leaves like these that wither but stay attached to the stem?
There is so much to love about autumn: it’s as if Nature is an award-winning play, and all the trees are her actors. She’s coming to the end of another successful season, it’s the last grand finale, the players are dressed in magnificent richly coloured costumes ready to take their final bows before a rapturous audience amidst great critical acclaim … and then the curtain comes down for another year.
The meteorologists tell us it is now officially winter and, if last week’s cold snap was anything to go by, they’re probably right. But, as I walk my familiar trails through Cardiff’s parks and green spaces, I’m still finding plenty of traces of autumn colour. So, I thought I would share these few shots from my recent visit to Parc Cefn Onn, on Cardiff’s northern outskirts.
The formal part of the park was designed around 90 years ago so many of the native and exotic trees have now grown tall and statuesque, though these are prettily interspersed with colourful maples which, in autumn, carpet the ground in gorgeous shades of red and crimson. The planting is sculpted around a valley through which runs the burbling Nant Fawr stream, there’s a large pond and formal paths and, my favourite, a wild area with meandering woodland trails.
When I visited, the rangers had lit a fire to burn off some of the smaller branches from recently felled storm-damaged trees. The effect of the sun’s rays lighting up the smoke as it curled through the trees was simply magical, and the smell of the wood smoke took me back to my childhood and happy memories of family nights spent around the open fire.