The last vestiges of jewel-like colour in early June, before finally disappearing after days of frosts then rain.
Such is the power of Pasternaks writing, as he equates the coming of winter with the pathos of a child mourning his mothers death. His words touch me, so that when I too, see those last clinging leaves and hear them tapping on my bedroom window at night, I remember Yuri's despair. Even in the southern hemisphere a world away from Russia's cruel winters, I still feel a sense of loss for the season past. Knowing that that particular season is lost in time and will never come back - a death in it's own right.
We in New Zealand can never know the bleak drama of a Russian winter, as our whole land is not blanketed in snow and ice for months on end, as above. We might have frost on the ground and cold damp foggy mornings, but apart from alpine areas, the change from autumn to winter is never so dramatic and cruel here.
Russia's taiga (extensive indigenous forests) covers 45% of it's huge landmass and a big percentage of this is coniferous forest with it's spiky needle foliage . New Zealand is not part of a great continent as is Russia, but small maritime islands in the southern hemisphere and we too have our evergreen indigenous forest, but it couldn't be more different! Instead of spiky green needles, our evergreens can be soft and lush, such as soft and graceful tree-ferns, evergreen beech forest, cordylines and nikaus, so winter here is never such a dramatic picture. With our favourable natural climate and geography, we are also host to many exotic plants which were brought here during 19th century settlement. So even in midwinter some areas can almost look sub-tropical. We don't know how lucky we are!!