Every preschool morning (three days a week), Toots and I drive by the horses, her big brothers’ schools, the road to where she will go to kindergarten and our favorite trees. She names the schools in order and who goes or will go to each. She looks for our favorite trees and if the horses are wearing their waincoats. She loves when the horses wear their raincoats, I love the morning light through the trees on the horses and hay while they have breakfast.
We take the smaller windy road rather than the bigger one that will get us there faster, but doesn’t have the same views, though they basically run right alongside each other.
There is a turn onto a side street instead of ramping back onto the main road sooner, and we take that, too. That is where our favorite trees are. Hers is at the beginning. It’s a really big tree over an old square farmhouse whose wraparound porch is covered in old toys I’ve never seen kids playing with outside. This big old rambling, paint crumbling house is incongruously set amongst 50s-60s style one floor brick ranches. It’s like a stalwart old aunt who refuses to pass on. A Mrs. Haversham house. I love the house. I fantasize about buying it someday, though it is a major fixer upper wedged into a pretty crazy 5way intersection.
But the big old tree over it is glorious, and that is Toots’s tree. This morning she remarked excitedly about how it has every color in it wight now. She is having a 3 year old’s love affair with that tree, no question. I think it is a big beech tree, like the yellow one at the corner of our back yard in the header above.
My favorite tree is a little farther along the windy little road. It sits at the edge of the road in front of a white clapboard Korean Baptist Church. It is an odd placement for an odd little church. I kind of want to check it out sometime, listen to the attempt at saving of my soul in Korean.
My tree is a sugar maple. Last year at this time, it was a radiant halo of yellow all around with a slight coppery burnish at the outermost leaves. This year, I seriously considered taking photos of it daily to post here, then decided I would just enjoy and appreciate its daily changes with Toots. This year, its coloration has been moving from a very Irish green to a deep orange around two thirds of it, but when I approach it from the opposite side after dropping her off at preschool, hints of that amazing glowing yellow of last year are emerging, turning that midtone green into a springy light-infused greenish yellow. The deep orange is its main color, though. And that orange has its own kind of radiance in the morning sun.
Toots and I are fascinated by these trees. Between hers and mine, as the road winds a smidge from one direction to the other around bends revealing reds and oranges and yellows and deep purples, she asks in sweet anticipation if we are going to see my favorite tree next. And in between, during the asking and not yets, we oo and ah over the variances of all trees as they merge into view.
We are amazed every day by the same old route to preschool, and everything we encounter along the way, comfortingly familiar, yet constantly changing.