I have a confession. I am in love with a Japanese Maple. Yes, I know...human/botanical love affairs can be tawdry things, but I can't help myself. I am simply mesmerized by the beauty she produces from spring till frost. It's funny, I don't even know her name...she came with the property. But, I suspect it's Crimson Queen (Acer palmatum-dissectum).
Here she is in late spring, flirting with me. Her bright chartruse seed pods peeking out from underneath delicate leaves. While the rest of my landscape is full of polite pastels and soft-hued greens, her rouged leaves demand my attention, their dissected form catching the breeze, waving to me.
As spring turns in to summer, our romance grows. I have the perfect vantage point to keep an eye on her. She sits toward the bottom of the hill...snuggled between the curve of the drive and the lush expanse of the lawn. I look down from my bay window to see her catching the eye of a neighbor. I smile to myself, proud to have her on my arm.
In fall, my little Japanese Maple pulls out her cool weather wardrobe. Bright crimson, startling yellow, vibrant persimmon...all come to life with the crisp afternoon days of autumn. Here she is, peeking out from behind an evergreen.
Every fall, I pull out my camera and try to capture her beauty. And every fall, I miss the mark. It's not that I don't try. I snap shots from different angles, with different light, in different seasons. But I can't seem to catch the way she looks ablaze when the afternoon sun dances along her leaves. Or the fluttery butterfly seedpods whose movements make her look alive.
Sadly, we've reached the time of year when she starts to slumber. Her leaves fall gently to the ground as she prepares for bed. I watch with a wistful heart, knowing that the long, dark months of winter will be longer and darker without her.