Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - Nov. 7, 2002

Hanging on to autumn - and everything else!

The west half of our pin oak tree is red while the other half is still green. It won't be too long before all its leaves turn brown and curl up. Many trees are nearly bare after our hard freeze a couple of nights ago, but for some reason, the leaves on the oak tree seem to hang on through the winter. It's almost as if the tree doesn't want to let go of fall.

I guess I'm a bit like that too. I try to hang on to each of the seasons. I love the changes and the extremes in temperature, the breathtaking moods of the landscape, the fact that each season has its place in the cycle of life. But even though I look forward to each one, I find I hang on to the last one as if by doing so I can stop time - at least a little.

My family and friends tease me about how I pick up fallen leaves and take them home to add color to our dining room table and carry others to my office to brighten my desk. They also kid me about taking so many pictures of nature's autumn display - red-orange maple trees next to evergreens, yellow cottonwoods framed against the blue sky, leaves making a multi-colored carpet on the still-green grass.

I suppose those photos are the main vehicle I use to hang on to seasons and moments. Anyone looking at my photographs over the years would find tulips and irises each spring, storm clouds and wild flowers every summer, sunflowers and leaves in the fall, and trees silhouetted against the snow every winter.

I can't seem to help it. It must be the documentarian in me. I'm a journalist, and maybe I'm trying to capture moments of a particular time and place. Art says when he looks at my photo albums, it's more like looking at a movie than individual pictures.

It pleases me that others appreciate my pictures too. When it comes time to making our family calendar at Christmas, Art depends on my pictures for many of the scenes he uses. When family members want birthday, holiday or wedding photos, they ask me to get the candid ones.

So, even though Halloween has come and gone and I need to put the black cats and ghosts away until next year, I won't do it until I get at least a picture or two of our girls standing next to the ghosts hanging in that pin oak tree.

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