As I alluded in Part 2 of this series, Autumn is perhaps the most vibrant time of year at Mossvale Park. The European trees change colour and then carpet the grounds in an array of shapes, sizes and colours before they fade and eventually get mowed away. The onset of these vibrant colours can be variable and at times slow, as so much is dependent on the temperatures dropping low enough to shock the leaves into their coats of many colours. We don’t quite have the protracted zero degree nights and mornings that you might find in the Alpine regions of Victoria such as Bright or Mt Beauty, where the much colder weather brings about dramatic change. And European trees aren’t found everywhere, except places where the first settlers and later immigrants brought along memories of their homeland. And at least the trees didn’t bring with them the problems that other memories of homeland brought, such as rabbits and foxes.
Many look at the approaching Autumn and lament the fact that Summer is at an end and there’s now a long dull Winter ahead. I don’t mind the changing seasons, having spent a short period of time in the tropics where the only seasons you have are hot and dry or hot and wet. After a while you are just begging for something different. Mind you, the really cold Winter we just had isn’t something that I relish and I probably wouldn’t mind so much if our power prices weren’t in the stratosphere where you can’t afford heating other than a wood fire. The latter is something that Autumn at Mossvale Park reflects, at times a blazing wood fire, with the multitude of colours in the trees and on the ground as the season moves on.
It’s kind of nice to walk around the park and see the various carpets of shapes and colours extending from one end of the park to the next, reflecting the types of trees in each area. The Plane trees tend to dominate, being so large, and spread their leaves into just about every nook and cranny in the park. For a very short period of time they may display a little bit of colour, but quickly turn into a plain brown blanket or deep pillows in the sidelines when the wind and weekly mowing sends them off the grassed areas.
And for a short period of time that carpet of colour extends right across most of the park, interspersed here and there by green patches. Those green patches often gather isolated leaves for what appear to be almost personal displays of their artistry. With the mixes of shape and colour, these small displays are quite an interesting diversion from the almost bland scenes depicted by the Plane trees. But again, it all depends on how cold a night and morning we get as to how much colour is around.
As the season moves on, you come across solitary leaves and the like that have long given up the ghost and have become brown, desiccated, husks of their former selves. Others still cling tenaciously to a distant Summer, still showing faint vestiges of green reflecting those last lingering days of warm weather before they too succumb to the oncoming Winter. Very soon all the fallen leaves will be a dull brown and the trees will be bare for several months.
But when you step back and look at the overall park, you can see the forest for the trees, putting the park into better perspective. Viewed from close up or further away, the transition from Summer to Autumn and then Winter is a story unto itself. This is repeated year after year with variations as the smaller trees begin to grow and display their own character. Of course the park also has its share of evergreens, so it’s not all bare branches waiting for Spring.
It took a little longer this year for the effects of Autumn to take hold, but then it came upon us rapidly and, before you knew it, Winter was here and the park was bare. Summer is now on its way and the park is once again greening and I think everyone is grateful that Winter is now somewhat of a memory. Mind you it’s nearly November and we still have the fire going. Winter won’t let go all that easily.