Ginkgo biloba trees — which have been around for 270 million years, have no living relatives, and can live individually for 3,000 years — lose all their leaves virtually at once, triggered by a hard frost and who knows what other signals echoing across vast millennia. The second of November this year, when I happened to visit the Path of Life in Windsor, Vermont, was that day for the young ginkgo straddling the lawn and the bramble swath above the Connecticut river.
“… the ginkgo trees
That stand along the walk drop all their leaves
In one consent, and neither to rain nor to wind
But as though to time alone: the golden and green
Leaves litter the lawn today, that yesterday
Had spread aloft their fluttering fans of light.” — Howard Nemerov, from “The Consent”
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