Leaves - love in shades of gold

For a September wedding, bouquets of leaves instead of flowers from the florist.

John Nordell/CSM/File
Autumn glow: The sharply defined lower tree branches stand in stark contrast to the beautiful fall colors of the trees beyond.

Growing up in a small town in Wisconsin, I was surrounded by autumnal beauty. A simple walk around the block, or down our magnificent maple-tree-lined Main Street always brought an invigorating joy to me.

Fall has forever been my favorite season, and orange my favorite color. Well, that’s not exactly true – oranges and russets and rich brown-reds and golden yellows together – all the colors of fall are my favorite.

That includes treetops that stand out against the crisp, blue sky interspersed with banks of roiling white and silver clouds that turn the view into a Wagnerian opera.

So it seemed natural for me to have a September wedding. Planning for the flowers was easy. I’d carry a bouquet of fall leaves. Except for one thing: The leaves in mid-Wisconsin were not yet at their peak as my wedding day approached.

Fathers are angelic heroes, however, and my dad especially so. Early in the morning, the day before my wedding, he and my mom’s cousin piled into our trusty Rambler station wagon and headed north.

While the house bustled with activity, my dad preferred the beauty and quiet of the woods around Rhinelander where we had a secluded cabin. But he undertook this particular trip for one of his “little girlies.”

Late that afternoon, as we checked off the final items on our to-do list, the familiar form of the Rambler rounded the corner and advanced toward our driveway.

I rushed out to greet the mighty returning florists, and their arrival was a sight I will never forget. Fall leaves in profusion pushed up against the wide back and side windows, each leaf vying for the position of “first to be admired.”

It seemed as though whole trees filled that station wagon to bulging. “We also brought you cattails!” my dad exclaimed with pride and an air of great accomplishment as he climbed out of the car.Not only were there masses for the entourage to carry, but also branches full of leaves to fill the wedding and reception halls.

It was the best gift ever because it was a gift of beauty, a gift of love, and a gift of blessing from my dad.

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