Homeless in Vancouver: Don't be alarmed, this is only a test fall

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      If you were in Vancouver today, where the temperature reached 28° Celsius (over 82° Fahrenheit), you were probably hotter than a bivalve mollusc at a clambake.

      But even as heat-stroked Vancouverites were chasing shimmering mirages of impossibly cold frappe beverages through rush-hour traffic on West Broadway Avenue, some trees were getting ready for autumn.

      Bracing for the fall

      I’m not referring to the trees looking at actual early retirement, such as the deciduous customers of a certain Canadian insurance company that may choose to take advantage of the famous “Freedom 55 Days” program—those trees will start shedding their leaves in the middle of August.

      No, I’m referring to a small number of trees that have been quietly testing their equipment ahead of fall: the solenoid-driven hydraulics that selectively shut down life support to the leaves and stops the chlorophyll from replenishing and the pneumatic quick-release stems, each of which needs to be in perfect working order to jettison an entire canopy of leaves promptly and without fail when the time comes.

      You may think that one solitary leaf that refuses to fall looks silly but imagine how the tree feels—other trees notice these things.

      If you see any of these test leaves on the ground do not be alarmed.

      It is only a test.

      There are still 74 days of summer left.

      Which is to say fall starts in 11 weeks.

      Tick tick tick!

      Stanley Q. Woodvine is a homeless resident of Vancouver who has worked in the past as an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer.