The other day on the way home I saw some strikingly yellow trees along the side of the road. It was a road we drive often, and I hadn't noticed them before. They were the beautiful golden yellow that I love of fall up here, but there was something else. It took me minute and then I realized why they were so striking: they were spruce trees; evergreens that had suddenly turned yellow.
In one of my English classes we did a project that asked students to use something they found in nature as a jumping off point for a revelation about our lives as humans. So, my mind starting doing just that. Maybe, I thought, they noticed everyone else's leaves turning and wanted to get in on the color changing trend. Perhaps they decided to bleach their tips and went a bit crazy. Probably, they had sucked the yellow from the surrounding trees that were now bare of leaves of any color. I mentioned these trees to my husband and we walked down to them after dinner.
Upon closer inspection it was very clear that they were dying. The snow underneath them was littered with yellow pine needles and their branches looked stark and bare. This sent my mind in a whole new direction, searching for those comparisons to our existence. These trees were three friends, maybe even family. They were triplets born, grown, and dying together. They were three old men going gold instead of grey. They were three men watching stoically as the trees around them seemed to get younger. Needless to say it put me in a somber sort of mood.
Then on the way home my husband and I walked past this. If this doesn't sum up human mortality and our vain attempts to stave it off, I don't know what does.
On a lighter note, maybe this is what Calvin (of Calvin & Hobbes) will do in the snow when he is older.