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Kansas City MO 64131





Cindy Maddera

Fall has exploded here. Sure a lot of the trees are still sporting green leaves, but there's enough red and golds splattered in now to make you think of Jackson Pollock. Every time we're in the car, I spend the drive pointing out trees. This weekend as I pointed at the 100th tree with "OHMYGOSH! Look at that tree!", Michael said "oh now I remember Fall". I guess he was thinking that last year was a fluke. Meanwhile, I'm a bit flabbergasted that he's not as excited about all the lovely tree colors as I am. I just don't know how anyone can remain indifferent . The other day we passed a tree that hurt my eyes, it was so unbelievably beautiful. The shade of red increased in intensity as your eyes followed up to the top of the tree. It was like that tree was on fire. And I want to stop and freeze it all for just a moment.

I know Oklahoma has some nice Fall foliage. The whole Northeastern corner of the state is full of big trees that change colors in the Fall, but I've lived in the plains ever since graduating high school and there's just not the abundance of trees on the prairie. Drought is a common thing in Oklahoma. The lack of rain tends to wreck havoc on the trees and instead of the leaves changing to a brilliant red, they most likely turn a dull brown. Fall is also shorter, lasting a few weeks versus a few months. I will be pointing and exclaiming over tree colors late into November here. 

Michael said he guessed he'd been taking all the changing leaves for granted. This is what Fall has looked like every year, his entire life. Part of me wonders if I have also taken Fall for granted. Were the Fall colors in Oklahoma really as dull and lack luster as I remember them to be? It's true that I never noticed the color changes as fiercely as I do now or when we first moved here, but part of me suspects there other reasons for this. Years back during the serious 365 Day projects, I was constantly looking. I began to see things differently. I learned to look at the ordinary at a different angle and see something not so ordinary any more. The move to Kansas City came right at the peak of all of this. Everything we came across was new and amazing. Bright and shiny. This move was all about a fresh start and so maybe the seasons even looked knew. I don't know. Really, I'm more concerned about falling back into the old habit of not really seeing anything spectacular about a tree with red or gold leaves. 

So I am determined every Fall season to point out the red leaves on that tree and the yellow gold leaves on this tree. I will continue to exclaim and gush at the beauty. And yes there will even be times where I will jab my finger into the window to point out the loveliest. Fall is my reminder to keep my eyes open and to continue to see things differently. Yoga teacher will say that if you practice yoga enough, eventually you will see your practice come off the mat and creep into your every day life. You'll find yourself standing in Tadasana while waiting in line at the bank or making the lion's face while sitting in traffic. The same can be said for being behind a camera. Eventually the practice of seeing things through the lens transitions over to seeing things in life.