Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Autumn is splendid in Atlanta this year. As my flight from Amsterdam came in for a landing Saturday, the brilliant reds, oranges, and golds of the trees surrounding the city were shot through with late afternoon sunlight. There was an audible gasp from the weary travelers inside our big old jet when they first caught a glimpse of the city ringed with fall colors. Well done, Atlanta! And God!

With the trees kitted out in the finery of leaves gasping their brilliant last breaths, I knew there was one tree in particular I needed to see. It is the most beautiful tree in the world, and while I haven't actually seen every single tree on this earth, I believe that roaming the planet in search of one more gorgeous would be an act of futility.

The most beautiful tree in the world is a huge ginkgo lording over a small park-like island in the middle of Peachtree Battle Avenue at the corner of Peachtree Road, just across from E. Rivers Elementary School. There are actually two ginkgos there side by side, one huge, one not so huge, and their branches reach into each other to form a massive gold canopy. You might say it's the ultimate golden parachute.

Photographers and families line up for the opportunity to make the tree and its gold carpet of fallen leaves the backdrop for family pictures. When I was PTA president at E. Rivers, we briefly discussed ways the school could take advantage of this situation (selling hot chocolate and donuts? frames for the pictures? commemorative leaf bookmarks?), but we could never settle on anything appropriate. Driving by the tree on Sunday - yes, there they were, photographers, children, dogs, you name it, lined up for the chance to make a golden memory.

I have my own photos of Kate at various ages, wearing wonderful fall finery and posing under the tree. Old dog Bailey is even in several of them. Yesterday, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to click a few pics of GrandBoy under the wonderful tree. I loved the look on his little face as he stood right under the tree and looked up into the ceiling of bright gold leaves. Like everyone else who's ever seen the tree, he found it worthy of delight.

Autumn is my very favorite season. Atlanta, dressed in her most brilliant finery, has reminded me why. It's golden.

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