Fall foliage a rainbow of color

Published 1:42 am Saturday, November 8, 2008

Sunday morning as my husband and I descended the stairs from church, three butterflies flitted from the flower beds in front of the steps and sailed through the mingling crowd of people.

It was a colorful sight; those orange and black winged wonders mixing among the varied colors of clothing the churchgoers wore. Their dainty wings glittered in the sun. Although one of them barely missed the side of someone’s face, its flight was so swift that person didn’t even see it.

I consider the yellow butterflies that appear in late August and September as harbingers of fall.

Speaking of yellow signs of fall, have you noticed the abundance of goldenrod this year? They are so prolific that they appear as a blur of yellow on the landscape. “They’re my favorite wildflowers,” my husband says. My mother never shared his opinion. I can see her now, wrinkling up her nose just at the mention of them. She thought they caused her to sneeze and sniffle.

There’s a little vine with tiny red flowers that I often notice during the fall. It runs along the top of fences and climbs poles and other things in its path. I’m sure it is classified as a weed. I don’t know its name, but as it wiggles and clings to this and that, it transforms something ordinary and dull into beauty. It’s another one of nature’s works of art.

A neighbor has a small tree that turns into a blaze of yellow and orange this time of year. Its beauty sort of takes my breath away when I pass by.

Of course, I realize that in no time at all, those leaves will tumble to the ground, just like those on the dogwood trees in our front yard. Although some leaves still cling to the branches, a circle of them are forming under each tree.

October and November are the months when one of my favorite plants, the Confederate rose, breaks out in bloom. I’ve had them off and on for years, but a couple of years ago, some bugs infested the one in our yard.

I had kept this one alive in water for a long time before we set it out. It thrived after we moved it from one place in the yard where it kind of sat still to a new spot close to the house. I miss those fat, furry bees that lost themselves inside the blooms and got drunk on the nectar.

Once you get a start with a Confederate rose, it’s pretty hardy. But those bugs were the death of it. I see and enjoy them around town in their stages of burgundy, light pink and white before they fade away at night. As Keats wrote, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”

I feel blessed that I live where there’s always greenery here in south Alabama among the trees and plants that drop their leaves and stand bare every fall.