One of the ghosts of the many beautiful fallen leaves …
It’s been a week of almost constant rain and, despite my rain wear, I’ve had several drenchings. Fortunately, one of my cameras is waterproof so I can still take photos in the wet. Today it was the leaves that caught my eye and the incredible spectrum of browns.
When anyone asks me what my favourite season is I can never decide because they each have their good points but, this year, our late-arriving autumn has certainly been magnificent. On Wednesday I caught the train to Radyr for a meander around Forest Farm Nature Reserve and it was sublime. From bright golden yellows to rustling red-browns, with some leaves still decorating spreading branches above my head and others carpeting the woodland floor beneath my feet, I spent a marvellous day, my eyes admiring, my feet kicking, my neck craning and all my senses spilling over. Ah, autumn!
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?