Submitted by Satinder P S Puri on Wed, 12/16/2020 - 00:14.





I love trees!

They are remarkable products of nature. They are generally multiple times much taller than us human beings. They grow by themselves. They need no daily watering – they suck up the rain water stored in the ground. They make their own food – in a process called photosynthesis – use up the carbon dioxide in the air and give off tons of oxygen only when the leaves are on. Needless to say, anytime I need a breath of fresh air in the summer – I just go under a tree. Come autumn time – the leaves on trees in the Jefferson Park neighborhood show a lot of color – bring joy to the soul -- and require endless hours of raking them when they fall down and countless plastic and paper bags to pack them to be hauled away to a landfill.

Trees have been known for inspiration too. Gautama Buddha (5th to 4th century BC) – the founder of Buddhism attained enlightenment while meditating for seven weeks underneath a ficus religiosa tree – commonly called bo tree, Bodhi tree, peepul, and sacred fig. The tree is native to Southeast Asia, southwest China, India and the Himalayan foothills. It is a large broadleaf evergreen tree with wide-spreading branches that grows to 60-100 feet tall. Over time, the trunk may grow to as much as nine feet in diameter. And for us science lovers – we all remember how Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) discovered the law of gravity when an apple fell on his head while sitting contemplating under an apple tree. What we don’t know – what happened to the apple. Did Newton eat it after washing it or he gave it to his Mom to make apple pie.  

Once, I had a small branch fall over my head – so being under a tree is not always the safest place.

While autumn officially arrived this year on September 22, the colors on the leaves did not start changing until the middle of October – over 3-weeks later. With a week left before winter officially arrives on December 21 – the trees have shed their leaves and are ready – come spring 2021 to sprout a fresh set.

TREES: This autumn I photographed a lot of trees in an around Jefferson Park. The park on Cleveland’s west side is bordered by Lorain Avenue on the north, Cooley Avenue on the south, West 132nd Street on the east and West 133rd Street on the west. I measured the sides recently – it is nearly 300 feet wide along Cooley x 1,315 feet along the longer sides providing a perimeter of 3,850 feet which is 0.73 of a mile. The park has an area of 394,500 square feet which translates to nearly 9 acres. By comparison New York City’s Central Park has 840 acres. My late wife and I, with our pets, moved here from NYC in 2001.

When we lived in Queens, New York, for over 30-years – and looked out of of our 5th floor apartment building – we saw row after row of apartment buildings and hardly any trees. Now when I look out from the many windows of our house facing Jefferson Park – I see trees and more trees.

By my count – there are 135 trees in the park, 19 trees in the tree lawn along West 132nd Street, and 14 trees along West 133rd. There is no tree lawn along Cooley Avenue. I also looked at the 12 trees in our neighbor’s lot and the 17 trees in our lot – both double lots. So that’s a total of nearly 200 trees belonging to at least ten different species of which I was able to identify only eight. To put this in perspective – planet Earth has over 60,000 species of trees and a count of over 3 trillion trees – that is 3 followed by 12 zeroes.

IDENTIFICATION: I have learned to identify a few trees by the shape of their leaves and their arrangement. Sometimes the differences in shapes are very subtle – and not easy to pinpoint. I am getting at identifying more trees every year.

COLOR: This year some of the trees in our Jefferson Park neighborhood changed color like the –ailanthus, ashes, basswoods, catalapas, honeylocusts, maples, sweetgums, and a few others. These trees were resplendent in their colors as the attached photographs (taken between October 11 and November 29) show.

Not all the leaves changed color. The sycamores (see#14) and the oak trees (see #22) did not change color that was noticeable.

Not all leaves change color and not all leaves belonging to the same species change color at the same time. The twin maples in the park facing our house on Cooley Avenue (see #28, 35, 36, 38 to 46) were the last to change color and also the last to shed their leaves. In contrast, the four maples in our neighbor’s front yard (see #13, 16, 20, 23, 24, 27) changed color earlier and also shed their leaves earlier. The two set of trees are less than 100 feet away from one another.

Because of mix of species in our neighborhood – we don’t always get a wide burst of color as photographs from Vermont show. Instead we get local bursts of color. It’s like looking at a shining star surrounded by darkness. See #4, #5 and #21 as examples.

And the colors reflect differently in the light depending upon the angle of the sun on sunny days and differently on overcast days – of which there is no shortage in Cleveland.

During summer, with long days, while the leaves appear green --- the yellows, oranges, and reds of autumn are there but we don’t see them because the green color from the chlorophyll in the leaves dominates. During autumn, with short days – the chlorophyll breaks down revealing the autumn colors.

Bright sunny days and cool nights bring out the best in the autumn colors.

ARRANGEMENT OF PHOTOGRAPHS: The following 46 photographs were taken between October 11 and November 29. They have been arranged sequentially and have been annotated to list the date, name of tree, and the location of the tree in the neighborhood – JP (Jefferson Park), West 132nd, West 133rd, Cooley Avenue, our neighbor’s lot, and our lot. The trees in the park have been referenced to the main components of the park – the north lawn, the south lawn and the area in between where we have the tennis courts, the basketball courts, the children’s playground, and the gazebo.

1: The first photograph is a composite of four photographs taken from the set of 46. Going clockwise, the first is a honeylocust (#11), the second is a catalpa (#21), the third is a maple from our neighbor’s group (#23) of four maples on Cooley Avenue, and the last is an unidentified tree ( #30).


Common Name of Tree or Plant & Photograph #
Ailanthus 6, 15
American Basswood 8, 19, 29, 34
Catalpa 21, 27
Green Ash 4, 7
Honeylocust 5, 9, 10, 11, 12
Maples 18, 32, 33, 37
Group of Neighbor’s Four Maples 13, 16, 20, 23, 24, 27
Twin Maples in front of our house 28, 35, 36, 38 to 46
Mulberry 25
Twin Oaks 22
Pokeweed 26
Sweetgum 17
Sycamores 14
Unidentified on West 132nd 2, 3
Unidentified in JP (Jefferson Park) 30, 31















47 Our Galena, a golden retriever, with a curly tail, romping through leaves from the maple trees, around noon, November 12, 2020. Given a choice, Galena would rather be in JP than in her house with a double lot. She is very adept at sneaking out of the gate and making a dash for the park.

Enjoy the rest of the autumn season which except for one snowfall has been very pleasant so far.






Slide1.JPG105.54 KB
Slide2.JPG57.61 KB
Slide3.JPG85.86 KB
Slide4.JPG70.67 KB
Slide5.JPG72.4 KB
Slide6.JPG79.75 KB
Slide7.JPG92.26 KB
Slide8.JPG107 KB
Slide9.JPG98.17 KB
Slide10.JPG114.84 KB
Slide11.JPG93.69 KB
Slide12.JPG87.45 KB
Slide13.JPG85.38 KB
Slide14.JPG75.24 KB
Slide15.JPG91.79 KB
Slide16.JPG116.84 KB
Slide17.JPG110.69 KB
Slide18.JPG48.83 KB
Slide19.JPG89.77 KB
Slide20.JPG73.31 KB
Slide21.JPG79.98 KB
Slide22.JPG61.6 KB
Slide23.JPG89.15 KB
Slide24.JPG94.79 KB
Slide25.JPG115.25 KB
Slide26.JPG93.17 KB
Slide27.JPG97.54 KB
Slide28.JPG94.95 KB
Slide29.JPG112.28 KB
Slide30.JPG56.41 KB
Slide31.JPG112.7 KB
Slide32.JPG86.21 KB
Slide33.JPG66.54 KB
Slide34.JPG51.88 KB
Slide35.JPG112.29 KB
Slide36.JPG103.17 KB
Slide37.JPG78.21 KB
Slide38.JPG115.13 KB
Slide39.JPG108.27 KB
Slide40.JPG102.95 KB
Slide41.JPG102.02 KB
Slide42.JPG109.07 KB
Slide43.JPG99.51 KB
Slide44.JPG111.44 KB
Slide45.JPG107.73 KB
Slide46.JPG120.39 KB
Slide47.JPG94.62 KB