Hanging On Until The Last Moment

November 1st showed us that winter is lurking behind every weather forecast.  We awoke to a skiff of snow on the fields, breaking the spell that the warm afternoons of fall had cast over Southwestern Ontario.  The winds and rain showers, also this week, removed many of the leaves from the trees. These variations in the weather remind me of the obvious differences in the natural world.

While the growth spurts of spring and summer can disguise tree species with a sameness of green, autumn shines a kaleidoscope on their particular characteristics.  I was rediscovered this when I drove to my parent’s house on Wednesday.  Mom and Dad have lived on the same rural road for all of my life, so I know it by heart.

Whether I have been walking, biking, mini-biking and driving that stretch of gravel, I have noted it’s changes over the past half century.  The hill is not as steep.  The divot in the ditch that was our fort has disappeared.  Hickory trees are fewer. Cattle no longer look at me from behind pasture fences.  Farm houses that I trick or treated at are gone or are cottages. Tobacco crops are a distant memory and sweet corn and potatoes have appeared. With all the changes, there is a steadfast sentinel.

When I turned onto the road, I saw it.  On the crest of the hill, in all it’s blazing fall beauty was the 500+ year old Black Oak.  It clutched its rusty red leaves like best friends unwilling to part.  The Spruce trees, that were planted in the 1980’s marched along beside it.

Hanging on until the last moment, the rusty red leaves of this Black Oak overhang a gravel road.

The red leaves of this Black Oak overhang my parent’s gravel road.

A comforting consistency of nature is that Oak trees are one of the last trees to loose their leaves in the fall and one of the later trees to bud out in the Spring, as if they are set on a slightly different clock than the rest of us who are racing through every season.

It is a reminder to cherish every day of every season and all their diversities.  Leaves hanging on until the last moment are not the only sign.

Oak Leaves and CherriesThis is an old-traditional applique type pattern.  When early quilters made this pattern they would cut the leaf and cherry shapes and sew them on top of a solid background fabric.  So, it is not a patch work quilt that relies on geometric shapes to combine to make the design.

This barn quilt is located at The Ridge House Museum on Erie Street South in Ridgetown.  It is a collection of four Oak Leaves and Cherries quilt blocks and shows how the patterns combine to make the design more interesting.

If you would like to discover some Barn Quilt Trails in Canada check this out.