White Dog and I have a special Autumn tradition that goes back to her puppy days. Two amazing ancient elm trees shade our home all summer from the searing sun and heat at the front of the building. The branches cover the entire front and provide shade...not to mention nesting sites for many.
This time of year as we gradually turn to cooler nights, our special trees begin their majestic process of transformation. Ours are often the last on the block to give themselves over to the change and even more stubbornly hold on to their precious leaves.
It is around now that White Dog and I begin to watch. This past week one entire branch of the tree on the right has re-dressed into radiant yellow. And this morning when WD came in from getting the newspaper from the curb she reported a second branch is in process.
Most important, the Little White Dog of My Heart carried her half of our ritual. The first bright yellow leaf that has jubilantly thrown itself into the whims of destiny found itself a part of our annual routine.
WD carefully laid the leaf in my lap. I picked it up and held to up to the light, turning it and commenting on its extraordinary beauty. She wags and dances in delight and jumps into my arms so that we can together recollect this past growing season...from end of last winter when buds appeared on the tree, to their unfurling, to their dances in the Spring rains and winds...becoming our Summer umbrella...and now finding freedom with a final leap.
That special leaf goes into White Dog's album; where 11 others wait to meet Leaf 2016, White Dog's 12th Year. We take a moment to turn through the pages and touch the others and in doing so honor not just those leaves but the continuity that is our life together.
This tradition is a private one between WD and I. The others do not know. Except there is a painting that one Autumn's choice compelled WD and I to specially honor.