I was looking through some old pictures today and came across some photos I took on one of the last aimless drives I took with my dad before he passed away. Dad loved to get in the car and drive. After he lost most of his eyesight to macular degeneration, he loved to get in the car and let one of us drive him around. When he was a young man, he wanted to be a park ranger with the U.S. Forest Service. That dream died, and he spent his life doing other things, but he never lost his love of the great outdoors. While we were on this drive, we marveled at the color of the aspen leaves. Usually, they're a brilliant golden yellow, but that year they were a vibrant orange. Since we'd just been through five or six years of drought, we speculated that the color difference was caused by a lack of water, but I never bothered to ask anyone and find out for sure. It's very odd to think that a year ago my dad was alive and well -- well . . . relatively well, considering that he was 82 and legally blind and diabetic, with high blood pressure and all the other ills that were plaguing him. He was terrified that he would live to become a burden on his children and, considering how hard he was to contain, being bedridden would have been pure hell for him. I guess I'll let him find out what made those aspen leaves orange, and I'll wait patiently for the day when he can give me the answer.

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