Fallen Japanese maple leaf on hydrangea flowers

“Now the last leaves are down, except for the thick, dark leaves of the oak and ghostly beech leaves that click in the breeze, and we’re reduced to a subtler show of color — brown, gray, and buff, perhaps a little purple in the distance, and the black-green of moss, hemlock, and fir.  To my eyes these hues are more beautiful than the garish early autumn with its orange leaves — orange, the color of madness — and leaves the color of blood.  Let hot life retire, grow still:  November’s colors are those of the soul.”
— Jane Kenyon, “Season of Change and Loss”

“As fruits and leaves and the day itself acquire a bright tint, just before they fall, so the year near its setting.  October is its sunset sky; November the later twilight.”
— Henry David Thoreau, “October, or Autumnal Tints”

These photos show the late November color palette in the Pacific Northwest:

Tree-lined driveway at Maplehurst Farm, Skagit Valley

Rose hips

Stewartia pseudocamellia fruit

Stewartia pseudocamillia

Another fallen Japanese maple leaf on hydrangea plant

Fallen Japanese maple leaves on Atlas cedar trunk

Watercolor sketch of oak and maple leaves

 

Superimposed maple leaves

“Every blade in the field — every leaf in the forest — lays down its life in its season as beautifully as it was taken up.  It is the pastime of a full quarter of the year. . . . And what is that pride of our autumnal scenery but the hectic flush — its painted throes — with the November air for canvas?”
—  Henry David Thoreau, “October, or Autumnal Tints”

It’s been a while since I’ve photographed my “adopted” maple trees and willow.  After a few windy, blustery November days, almost all of the willow leaves have fallen.  The maple holds on to its lower leaves, but the upper branches are stripped of leaves.

Last golden maple leaves cling to the tree’s lower branches

My “adopted” maple trees in late November

A lone willow leaf

Fallen willow leaf