In the Summer, these leaves are nothing special.
A simple leaf shape. A plain green color.
In Autumn, when other trees are sporting dozens of shades at once in hues from brightest yellow to deep magenta, these leave fade – uniformly – to this pale, barely orange tone. Tree wide, without variation.
It’s only in the Winter when I start to take notice of them.
These are the only leaves still clinging to the branches.
Some days, when the snow blankets the ground and the sunless days leave the pine needles looking black, these leaves are the only bit of color in the woods.
All through the Winter, and right into Spring, they hang on.
Through winter storms that stripped pine trees of their branches and caused tall maples to bow, these leaves just stayed.
That alone is pretty remarkable.