There is a maple tree in front of my bedroom window. We planted it when we first moved into this house, almost thirty years ago. I’ve watched it grow into a beautiful, mature tree. This tree has been with me through a lot of life – through both joyful and challenging times. Each fall, it’s one of the last trees to turn, and when it does, it turns the most incredibly bright, vibrant red. When the light is just right, my entire bedroom is infused with a red glow from the tree.
The photo of Amber above was taken six years ago, when the tree was at its peak. This glory only lasts for a few days, then the leaves all fall off almost overnight. I look forward to the tree turning color each year – it’s such a constant in a life that is filled with so much change.
Nothing marks the passage of time more than the changes in nature. For me, fall, and my maple tree, have always been a dramatic manifestation of change. And as I watch the tree turn from its rich, summery green to a vibrant, glorious red, I also think about my cats, both past and present.
Perhaps the link between the tree and my cats is so strong because of the photo of Buckley that my cover designer integrated into the cover of Buckley’s Story. It shows the tree in the background. It’s my favorite photo of her, and it’s become an almost iconic image. I still vividly remember the day I took it – it was a warm, sunny day, the window was open, and she was enjoying the breeze wafting in through the screen while she was relaxing on her favorite window perch.
Last year, I had a difficult time with the tree turning. It was the first year I wouldn’t see Amber on the window perch in front of the window that looks out on the tree.
But last year, I also got my first photo of Allegra in front of the tree, and that provided great comfort. It gave me a reason to once again celebrate the turning of the tree, and the changes life brings.
This is Ruby’s first fall at our house, and when the tree turns in another couple of weeks, she will join the list of cats who have their picture taken each year with the tree as a backdrop.