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Contents Page: October, 2010, vol 6 no 3

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Amy Whitcomb

Old Rag

Nothing changes uniformly.  This occurs to me on a cold morning hike up Old Rag in Shenandoah National Park.  I used to live an hour or so from the trailhead, yet I never visited this peak.  Now I’m here, with the sole purpose of reaching the top.  Of seeing the view.  What I see, on the way up, are leaves mottled with all shades of primary colors.  I try not to compare the colors to concrete images, mostly fruits, because any comparison seems unfair to the leaves.

Senescence seems to be a top-down process, with the leaves in the upper canopy changing before those underneath. But what about the maples turning before the oaks?  The lindens and tulip poplars and catalpas hang on longer, and on and on. 

I look out over the Blue Ridge – blue sky, low clouds; the folds of forest are splotchy. 

Nothing changes uniformly. Not the hillside, not the tree, not the leaf.  Not me.

I would if I could fly out of formation


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