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November 5, 2009

This Wonderful Life: A view through bare branches

Every morning, Bee and I stand at the end of the driveway waiting for her bus and we look up into the branches of the elm tree that arches over the drive.

We started this little ritual back in the spring, when the first signs of new leaves appeared like green knuckles up and down the long branches.

``Look,’’ I said to her.

``Soon the tree will be covered with leaves, and we won’t be able to see a bit of sky through them.’’

Sure enough, bright green leaves sprouted and spread until the tree offered a cool canopy. Peering up through the branches was like looking into a verdant kaleidoscope, a mosaic of greens and yellows and tiny flecks of blue sky.

In summer, of course, we found little reason to stand at the foot of the driveway for any length of time. Sure, we might venture to the mailbox or pass through that general area on our way to throw rocks into the creek or walk to our neighbor’s pond and listen to the frog symphony. But we never took the time to see how summer had changed the view upward through the elm branches.

But then autumn came around, and with it a new school year and a new daily opportunity to view the world from the foot of an elm tree.

In early September, the tree already was giving us a show — a bright yellow leaf here, another leaf orange and brown, and yet another looking for all the world like a green and red holiday ornament.

Bee claimed she was collecting autumn leaves, and for many mornings, she would find her favorite, and give it to me to add to her collection after she had gotten on the bus.

``But wait there until the bus is gone,’’ she told me.

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