“Chagrin River, Wraiths of the Season”


Driving along Chagrin River Road, winding north from Rt. 87 another three tortuous miles as the road traces the river and escarpment into the village of Gates Mills, one is mesmerized by the desolate beauty that has arrived overnight. Northern Ohio’s autumn landscape is frequently transformed in the course of an evening as the deciduous forests that descend into the Chagrin Valley surrender their color to the cold winds of November.

Each year the sudden manifestation of ghostly sycamores (image above) unnerves me, appearing specter-like in a brief moment. Beech and birch, maple and oak, even black cherry shedding their luminous colors overnight, leaving behind the bones of great American sycamores. Standing like sentries, dendritic arms stretching to us who would tremble, holding dominion only to recede into the verdant masks of May.