In the Wrong Profession?

This morning as I left our complex and began my walk to work, I noticed that a handful of the boulevard trees had lost their yellow leaves—all of their leaves, at once.  What strange phenomena had caused this, I wondered.   How could it be that while most of the trees still held leaves, these seemingly randomly placed ones were completely bare, with their leaves at their feet and in the roadway?   Perhaps a rare Chinese wind had blown through, selecting these chosen ones to rattle.  Then I noticed our little street sweeper.   He was down the road a little, on the other side, madly pushing at a tree and standing in a shower of leaves.  He stopped to wave and shout a greeting; I just had to smile and shout back.  A few minutes later the truck sweeper passed by and collected about 90% of his leaves.  I imagine that by the time I head home, all the trees will be bereft of colour, the street clean, and my little friend proud of his day’s labour.   So much for enjoying the Fall foliage… but I have to admire his pragmatic approach! (Ed. note: These are the tress, taken from out apartment window. Really, the photo doesn’t do them justice.)

The Beautiful Trees

I wonder if those at home who walk to work on a regular basis have similar experiences.  Driving can take the fun out of things and leaves little time to notice the world outside the window.  On the other hand, I am a big fan of trees and have always had a few favourites that I would look for on my daily commute.  One was a glorious dogwood on Prairie Avenue in Port Coquitlam that I passed when teaching at the old Terry Fox.  There were no leaves for blossoms on this tree and it held on to them for months, it seemed.  My other favourite is a grafted maple at the foot of Falcon Drive at Barnet.  In the Fall, this tree has strands of deep red, intense yellows and orange—truly magnificent.  Some days I detoured onto Dewdney just to appreciate the stands of cottonwoods there.   In this part of China, there are not many trees but they have planted lots of sycamores downtown in Jiaxing and in Shanghai, and all new developments count the plantings as part of their charm.  I imagine they lift everyone’s day, not just mine

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