Friday, September 16, 2016

In the Last Week of Summer, Apples and Walnuts Fall as We Prepare for Fall.

The season remains summer for one more week. We have all called this time fall. Fall is a pun on words. I saw crabapples falling from trees planted in islands of grass in a sea of parking lot. Crabapples are crushed at Tandem Cider north of Traverse City, blended with regular apple cider to make a tart, crisp intoxicating drink. In this lot, car tires rolled over the fruit, smashing bushels of crabapples into a brown paste the wind could blow away. Crabapples fell and no one gathered. On a street corner on Webster, a tree has falling buckeyes, shedding a green pointed husk to reveal a shiny brown nut inside. I once read that passenger pigeons consumed the nut, but no passenger pigeons are left to peck at the shell and nibble on the meat inside. Squirrels have already gone to work on the walnuts, which must have immature meats inside the hard shells. The squirrels can't wait. The acrobatic rodents have taken to arranging bite sized chunks of husks into puzzles on my neighbor's newly constructed masonry wall. The rains have leached stain out of these husks and it makes an oddly satisfying painting. Neither my neighbor nor I have swept these compositions away. I took a walk along Western Avenue, and I felt grateful that planters in a sidewalk cafe for Pigeon Hill Brewing still abounded with begonias and impatiens. Searching among the impatiens blossoms, I found these delightful gourd shaped pods that snapped open with a pinch, throwing seeds. I've pinched these pods open every year and I have yet to see new plants arise from the seeds. I walked along the east sidewalk of Hackley Park, and enjoyed the lush vines cascading downward from hanging baskets suspended from the decades old, wrought iron lamp posts. Decades as in count twelve or thirteen decades backward. That's how long ago those posts were forged and erected and lit. The vines had a good chance of touching the sidewalk if the sun hadn't gone its fickle journey to the south. The city workers will have to remove them after a few frosts blast and wither them into tatters.

A murder is announced. Yes, I'm talking about the frost that will slay all of our flower baskets and slaughter our annuals. I am also talking about the play that opens in the Beardsley Theater downtown Friday, tomorrow night. As I sat on a marble bench surrounded by doomed flower baskets filled with vibrant ferns and geraniums, the cast of "A Murder is Announced" exited the theater together, vamping and singing and muttering lines from Shaw to Shakespeare. These hothouse blooms will be flagrantly in flower for a two week run, protected from chilly blasts by the coziness of the Frauenthal Theater's radiators. I doubt even a frosty review from MLive could take the bloom of these roses. If MLive actually sends a reporter to opening night.

Photograph of Jerry Norbury's Crabapple bonsai tree taken in August 2015.


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