The leaves gather in a pool on the surface of the lake as if to paint an image of the treetops from which they have sailed.
The lake participates. Above the golden gathering, it creates ripples to mimic wind. Beneath it, the lake is calm as earth.
Wherever we sail, the heart remembers home, its source and its destination.
The black rocks along the creek are awash with fallen leaves, and the creek, too. But that’s not enough. The creek drinks in the trees themselves, their blazing gold, the green at their feet, their charcoal trunks and filigree of branches floating on its surface looking up at the sky, which the creek also captures.
Before the ice comes, before the days turn gray, the water fills itself with the rippling colors. In winter, it will feed their gold and crimson songs to the fishes, painting their dreams. And we, walking these rocks when they’re covered in snow, will dream that we hear them, too.
Somewhere I read that you call beautiful what you love the most. Today, for me, it is walking here, on this path that skirts the small pond, the blue sky above, the last of the season’s leaves glowing in the sun.
It encompasses everything: all that breathes and that which gives rise to it, the endless turning of the seasons, one smoothing into another, and all they hold. That includes the children who ran, laughing, along this path in summer, and the parents who followed them, the green heron who made his home on the banks of the pond, the blue heron that flew overhead. And of course all the dragonflies and their kin, and the fishes, the worms in the soil, the soil itself.
It is all holy, and beautiful beyond measure, despite all the meanness the world holds.
How generous the Yes is, to give us each year this gold, to pour out to us these shining days, filled with scent and rustling sound.
We are not sent into the darkness without a light. We are not plunged into the silence without a song.
No, our pockets are filled with uncountable coins of love as we go, each one holding the story of the year’s broad turning, each one ringing with the truth that life and light return. Always, they return.
She stitches the quilt with care and tucks pearls between its layers. No material is too good for it. It must be thick and sturdy and warm enough to last all winter long. But more than that, it must hold spaces for lullabies and dreams.
It must hold the memory of sky and moon, of sun and stars, of the singing birds, and of the music of crickets and frogs. It must hold the mysteries of cycles and birth and regeneration.
And every layer must be laden with hope and with trust in the earth’s perfect timing.
And so she works with love and care, and the layers deepen and grow warm.
Just when you think the story is over, you turn the final page. And there it is, one last poem, an epilogue to all that has gone before.
So here, in the forest, where the maples have shed all but a whisper of their crismon, one stands in full glory, singing her amen to the deep autumn sky.
The season, which had seemed to end too soon and unfinished somehow, now felt complete. And more than that, magnificent.
The leaves of the ancient oak are deep olive now, waiting for the russet to set in. At its side, the maples are nearly bare, wearing only fringes of vanishing gold. The reds have disappeared entirely.
This is the season of flight. Bushels of leaves tumble through the sky, riding the currents as if they were hawks, circling, soaring, gliding. Even when they reach land, they are not still. They rise in giddy whirlwinds at the slightest draft, spinning round and round.
Only when the rain comes with its lullabies do they finally settle, nestling into the earth, becoming one with her, giving themselves to the roots of the trees that gave them birth, and all the time dreaming of rising spirals spinning round and round and round.
It’s all a matter of focus. You can give your attention to the rain or to the way the subdued light makes colors glow.
The world doesn’t care. It is what it is, a mirror waiting to reflect your thoughts. Always the choice is yours. And always the reflection is true and can change in the blink of an eye.
Like some giant, cosmic selfie, the rain left a portrait of its work on the hood of the car. Armfuls of spruce needles and golden leaves seemed to float through the reflected sky, now clearing with only a milky veil of clouds.
It captured the dance of the winds, the graceful curtain of needles washing down. It highlighted the leaves with their red veins, resting now after their fall, but falling through this scene nonetheless as if they would fall forever.
And perhaps in some dimension they will forever fall, their blissful ride going on, and on, and on.
Just for this moment, step into an alternate world where leafy golden coins fall from the sky and pile in heaps at your feet. Imagine that your every need is met, your heart’s truest desires all granted.
Imagine that you possess all these riches: the scents of autumn, its warmth, the song of its breeze rustling through the leaves.
Imagine this golden grandeur enveloping the whole earth, healing all the wounds, erasing all conflict, soothing all grief. Imagine it revealing every face as a beloved brother’s, a sister’s, a child’s.
Imagine the wind singing, “Welcome! Welcome!” and every face wearing a gentle smile.
Just for this moment, step into a golden world.