Compared to the Great Plains and the coasts, Pittsburgh is not a windy place. Our typical wind speed is 5-10 miles per hour and some days there’s no wind at all.
Gentle breezes are the norm, so you’ll understand why one of my favorite sounds is the swish of wind in the leaves. Their rustling is so soothing that it actually improves my day to hear it.
Because I love this sound, I began to care whether the leaves were on or off the trees. About ten years ago I started to keep track.
First I developed a rough standard for measuring “on” and “off.” Then, using my neighborhood and Schenley Park as yardsticks, I watched the seasons change and tried to pick the date when most of the trees were bare. Over the years that date has been around November 11th.
Of course the date is very weather dependent. If a strong cold front comes through early, the wind and rain strip the trees. If the weather’s mild and our first hard frost is late, the leaves hang on longer. I’ve seen the date move later in recent years.
In any case, the days of leaves are numbered now. It won’t be long before the trees are bare. Then silence, except for the clacking of bare branches during winter storms.
(photo from my cell phone)
November 9, 2008: Today is the first day this fall that most of the trees are bare.