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Over the holiday weekend on a neighborhood walk with Blue Eyes, we came across trees. My neighborhood is overrun with trees; so we always come across them – but since Labor Day means that summer is over, I suppose I looked at them a bit differently.

There is a little pond with a bridge we cross on our walks; which is surrounded by trees, and also floods with even just a bit of rain. We had a pretty crappy Labor Day weekend with weather in Jersey; so the pond area was quite moist.

I noticed that the leaves from the trees were brown and discarded, like it was the middle of October. Blue Eyes, who is kind of a tree expert (long story), noticed this as well. He tends to point out the puddles and the different things (garbage, mainly) that accumulate in the puddles and around the pond.

I asked a simple question: are the trees dying or are they already turning? Now, it being 80 degrees out and a densely shaded and watered area, Blue Eyes sort of just gave me a weird look and said no way were the trees turning already, especially that much.

With most of the obvious answers I get like this, I thought about it a little more and asked if they were dying because of too much water. This answer was yes, as I suspected.

A little more consideration and looking more deeply into the already pointed out puddles led way to me seeing, and maybe for the first time, the new growth amid the trash. Mold, mostly – but also weeds. Now, I know from my mom’s garden that not all weeds are actually weeds; new trees sprouting tend to look like little weeds. So maybe with these dying trees are coming new ones to replace the old.

Is this the circle of life? I don’t know the answer to that. Is it survival of the fittest? Because some of those dying trees are massive. Are the new growths a different type of plant that can sustain a wet and shaded area?  Are the plants adapting to their environment?

So while fall is rolling in full steam ahead, I think about the new beginnings all around – new school year, new fall jacket, a darker tint to blonde hair…but also a new start for mums and gourds and an affinity for a fresh environment and weather forecast.

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