With our breath rising, full or our awe and joy,
autumn again raised the curtain of clouds
to bring us an encore of color. It was more
than we could have asked for, bright scarlet
flags waving in the wind, the epitome of
maple’s brilliant hues. Never give up
on your hopes of one last stretch of glory.
Even when all seems lost, the miraculous
can step out from the wings,
Lest we be mesmerized by autumn’s gold,
she interrupts our dreams with a preview
of days to come, showing us her subtler side,
reminding us that after their boisterous romp,
her children must sleep, after all. Still,
she does not withhold her beauty. Even
though darkness descends, she sings.
In one last burst of grandeur
the trees take their final bow,
knowing that nothing is truly final,
that the seasons roll on and on. But still,
this cycle has come to its close,
and so, in triumph and with joy,
they do their dance of celebration,
for all that has been and is,
so brilliantly, so full of Yes.
As if their first acts weren’t enough
to show the world their joy, the trees
brought on another dance of color,
this one juicy with cirtron, with leaves of lemon
and tangerine and lime, each one fluttering
like wings in the wind, eager to fly. So bright
were they, that we ourselves were lifted,
our spirits soaring with them into the clear
blue autumn sky.
Meanwhile, at the lake, the season’s joy is more subdued.
The flamboyant colors, tempered by the pines, sink
into the waters’ depths, then rise to float in serenity,
the hues deepened and calm. And we breathe them
into our lungs, tasting their peace, and it lingers
in our hearts and in our souls.
Now come the red flames of maples, leaping,
their crimson and scarlet boughs raised
to the sun, freeing their children to race
with the singing wind, to fly high and far.
This is the crescendo of their joy,
the annual ecstasy of purpose fulfilled
in a ballet of Yes and of grace. And we,
who are privileged to behold it, stare,
breathless and astounded.
On the day that the sun sings Gloria
at its rising, the trees, at the pinnacle
of their splendor, begin their dance,
stretching their arms high, spreading
their limbs in exuberant joy. They sway
and bow In the wind, their leaves
shimmering with light, each one
echoing the song of the sun, singing
Gloria! Gloria! Gloria!
Autumn is pulling out the stops now,
holding nothing back. It’s color
full-on and if you weren’t standing
here, the reds, and yellows, oranges
and golds pouring right into your
very own eyes, you wouldn’t believe
such splendor was possible. And even
standing right here, you stare and stare,
awed by the sight of it. It’s as if the trees
have drunk the sunrise.
A golden brush swept through the woods
painting the leaves and the ferns.
And the sun came to play, glittering them
with its light as they swam in the warm
autumn breeze, the leaves raining down
in a shower of gold as if coins were falling
from the sky and everything was in motion
and full of dance and joy and you couldn’t
help but wonder if you had stepped
somehow into an alternate world
that felt like slice of heaven.
You have to plan it.
All the while you’re putting on
your colors, you think of little else.
You want a day when the sky is blue
and dotted with puffs of happy clouds.
You want to let go at high noon
when the shadows are shortest
and the air is warmed. And of course
you want a great wind, a strong wind
with grand gusts that will carry you far,
farther, you dream, than any leaf
has ever gone before. Then at last
the day comes, and it matches your wishes
exactly. And you sail the blue sky,
your tips raised like bird winds,
and you soar farther, farther,
than you had ever dreamed.