A number of years ago, I wrote a column about the early bird. I am the first to admit that I know nothing about birds, but what I do know is that early in the morning, one bird gets up and chirps his call, waking up the rest of the birds. Not just his friends and family, but all the rest of the bird population within his chirping area. And my question was, is it always the same bird or do they have to take turns waking up the flock etc.? Well, I got lots of comments, most telling me that it is not just the same early bird and leader of the pack, but lots of different birds. But the older I get the more I don’t really believe that! If you are up early and happen to listen to the first bird in the morning, you sort of get to recognize the voice. Not for weeks on end mind you, but certainly day after day for a long time.
Yesterday Malcolm and I were driving me to rehab on the Barre-Montpelier road and all the way in the trees were absolutely glorious! That was when I asked Malcolm what he thought about the trees. It would seem that the same tree changes color first, the same tree turns a glorious red or orange and yellow. And I asked him this: Do the trees decide who is to change color first? And even more importantly, do the trees decide who is to be the most beautiful, year after year? Now, my opinion is that it would appear that the same tree is the most glorious each year. But as I say that, this year I have seen many trees that appear to reach down into their roots and give the old tree a run for his or her money! Trees that have never changed a super color have decided to join their mates and turn Vermont into a blaze of color.
Don’t tell me that mother nature is the one who decides which trees will change to what color, because I think that this isn’t giving the trees enough credit. All year they work within the seasons. In winter there are no leaves and the trees really become just huge sticks. And if you think about it although they are resting, they look pretty sad! Then the seasons change and the little tiny buds appear at the end of those little sticks. Then the buds open and little green leaves appear. And when summer comes (when and if it does) the little leaves become big, green leaves and the tree seems to relax. The tree has actually completed its life cycle.
And then, here in Vermont, a new and exciting cycle appears. Once again, like the early bird, certain trees decide it is time to astound their neighbors and all the humans who live in the area. (I am not counting the tourists who come to view this phenomenon.) And, of course, some years are much more beautiful than others. Who decides that? We always hear that the rains make the difference, the droughts make the difference, or the frosts make the difference. You know what that tells me? It tells me that no one has any idea at all. So, my idea, that the trees decide amongst themselves, is just as good as anyone else’s.
This year was a #1 color-wise, and we can only hope that this fantastic season continues year after year. Of course, I do wonder if the trees have to rest up after such a color display in order to prepare for sugaring, but what do I know?