Look Up!

I’m writing this in September and the leaves in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains are starting to change color. That palette will soon extend to the Front Range and we can enjoy all the glory fall brings.

Growing up in Cleveland, I saw a wide variety of colored leaves, from brilliant yellow to shimmering orange, bright red, deep maroon, and many shades in between. Not only did we have sycamores, oaks, and maples in our neighborhood, but the Cleveland Metroparks displayed a rainbow of trees.

Cleveland sits on the south edge of Lake Erie. Since the early 20th century, the park system has created over 20,000 acres of parks and trails encircling the city like a necklace beginning on the west side from Lake Erie, south around the metro area, then east and north back to Lake Erie. Hence the nickname, “Cleveland’s Emerald Necklace.”

The parks can be traversed by auto, bike, or foot, with roadways, bike paths, and trails in abundance. When seen on a map, this string of parks really looks like a necklace. But when seen in person in autumn, the “necklace” is more colorful than a Hawaiian lei.

My husband and I drove to Cleveland for a visit several Septembers ago. As he was from Colorado, he’d never seen fall colors in person. And as an artist, he wanted to enjoy the color palette, mostly to find out if it was true or if all those pictures were Photo-shopped. As I drove through the parks so he could enjoy the scenery, drool ran down his shirt and filled his shoes! (Well, not really, but he thoroughly enjoyed the trees.)

When I moved to Denver in 1975, I was disappointed that first fall to see only the yellow of aspen trees, or, as I called it, “the Fall COLOR,” not the Fall COLORS I was used to.

Since that time, I’ve learned to appreciate the shades of gold with little splashes of other colors from transplanted trees not native to the area. Sometimes a peek of a different color can be more impressive than a large swath of it.

That’s how life is – mostly plain gray or beige, sometimes gloomy. But every once in a while we see a streak of brightness breaking through, if only we take the time to notice. My friend DeeDee Mann posted on Facebook, “Rumor has it that if you look up from your phone once in a while, you can see all kinds of pretty colors in the trees this time of year.”

Let’s look up and thank God for sending color into our lives.

And not just in the trees.