November Memories of my Grandpa
October has passed by and now there is a short lull before Thanksgiving and onto the rush of the Holiday Season. I like this break between Halloween and Thanksgiving, while we prepare our habitat for winter. Thicker and softer blankets come out of hiding and my heated thinking circle takes its place in the sun room. Even though the sun begins to play hide and seek with us for the next few months, the warmth of my heated circle allows me to close my eyes and pretend the sun is shining down on me.
As the days shorten and the temperature cools, the leaves on all the trees around our home begin to turn color and then float to the ground. Some leaves are super spooky, like the giant Maple tree leaves that scritch and scratch across our porch. But my favorite leaves dance and float down to the ground from the ginkgo tree.
I have a great view of the ginkgo tree from the front bay window. I know that sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving depending on the temperature fluctuations that the ginkgo tree will perform a mesmerizing leaf dance as she sheds her leaves for winter. The leaves twirl and float down to the ground forming a golden blanket upon the ground. I must stalk the tree, because once the dance begins, it continues until all the leaves participate and take to their winter resting place.
The ginkgo tree is extra special to me and my family. You see, my grandpa planted and loved this tree. He nurtured her from a sapling and made sure she was protected and able to grow. Today she is a mighty tree with strong limbs and gorgeous leaves. This tree stands as a living memory of my grandpa and we feel his presence every day when we come and go year round.
But in November, when the ginkgo leaves turn gold, memories of my grandpa turn bittersweet. Our hearts feel a little heavier remembering the November the ginkgo leaves performed for us when my parents came home from Grandpa’s funeral. The sun was shining, the leaves were dancing, and I was waiting in the bay window for my mom and dad to come and watch with me. And just like that, in the middle of our heartbreak. our spirits were lifted watching his tree and feeling his spirit dancing with the leaves. Grandpa lives on in our hearts, and we dance in November.
Here is my tribute video
My grandpa was a teacher so I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you what he told us.
The stems of leaves on deciduous trees ( trees that lose their leaves) are known as petioles. Before leaves drop in the fall, these petioles produce a protective layer of cells that protect trees from diseases entering through the exposed tissue. Maple trees produce these protective cells over several weeks with the decreasing daylight and temperature.
As leaves drop and expose interior leaves to colder temperatures, these interior leaves form new protective layers, and additional leaves drop until the hard frost forces all the remaining petioles to form a protective layer and the remaining leaves to fall.
Ginkgo trees are different. The petioles of ginkgo leaves form the protective layer all at the same time and then the hard frost is the signal for all the leaves to drop at the same time. This is what enable the leaves to dance and form the golden blanket around the tree.
My grandpa was also a dachshund guy and not so much of a cat guy. But sometimes when he thought my mom wasn’t looking or couldn’t hear him, he would pet me and tell me that I was really ok ….for a cat. hahahhaha. He even let me sit on his lap and watch the backyard birds sometimes.
Thank you so much for reading my story.