In late September, the cottonwoods and poplars are the first to dress their canopy in brilliant gold. It's as though they catch all the rays from the sun and hold it in every molecule of their being. They add brightness to any overcast day. But once the winds return—making their presence known with howls and gusts—these golden leaves struggle to hang on. Until finally, the last blast of coldness leaves them fluttering from their branches. And skirted about these lofty sentinels is a ruddy field of amber.