Trick or Treat

Fat Yellow Berries

If all things scary were just pretend,
And fear was just for fun,
If you could be anything you want—
Anything under the sun,
What would you dare?
Who would you be?
Where would you go?
What would you see?

If you knew that every dark shadow
Was cast by a warm, friendly light,
And that all our bad dreams, every last one,
Disappears at the end of the night,
What would you try?
Would you risk defeat?
Would you think life’s a trick?
Or find it a treat?

It’s all in how you look at it,
And what you choose to believe.
And therein lies the secret
Of what you’ll dream and achieve.
Will you be shy and frightened?
Or will you be serene?
Whatever you choose, I want you to know
I wish you a fun Halloween!

October’s Farewell

Glowing Multi-Hued MapleFor two full days gray clouds hung low and winds blew.  Trees whose branches had been lacy with their last leaves let them go and stood bare in the rain.

We walked with our heads down, listening to the scuttling of leaves along the sidewalk, watching them cover the grass.  Inside us, something steeled itself against the imminent turning of the calendar’s page.

It was all the more astounding then, when the sun finally returned, to see the corner maple suddenly dressed in all of autumn’s boldest hues.  She looked as if she had taken a patch from every costume of October’s dancers and woven them together for one last fandango of glad.

There would be no quiet going into the night for October.  She left coloring our minds with her spectacular, indelible joy and so we will remember her.  So we will remember.

Coins of Golden Joy

Showering Yellow Maples LeavesAs they ride October’s parade to the end of her days, the sugar maples toss down their leaves as if they were coins of golden joy.   They shower down around us bright as butter, looking like they snatched the sun itself from sky.  The forest floor glows with their light.

It’s impossible to walk here now and feel anything but rich, even if our pockets hold nothing but wishes and our old play socks have holes.

The air wraps around us warm and fragrant.  Geese fly overhead in long, noisy Vs.  Under the oak, squirrels are stashing acorns.

We feel like we own the world. We laugh for no reason except that we’re lucky and free. And here beneath a blue bowl of sky, we’re ankle deep in coins of joy.

Now, in the Rain

Scarlet and Crimson LeavesAs I walk out the door, I am assaulted by the sight of scarlet and crimson leaves.  Their colors dart through my eyes and pierce my dreaming. I am so startled that I can hardly breathe.

Their giant yes, so crisp and wet, is almost more than I can bear.  I want to disappear in them, to smear my being across their smooth cool and be one with them forever.

But before I can even think the thought, fat rain strikes my face and I look up to see a tree, full of orange cherries, laughing into the stormy sky.

From the parking lot, headlights streak through the puddles, which are dancing polkas in the light.  Street signs whip in the wind, clanging.

Beyond them a boy with outstretched arms flies a skateboard down the hill shrieking “Whoooooo!  Whooooo!” with joy.

Every Day, Happiness: Lessons from the Trees

Tree branches against the sky“Tell us,” we asked the ancient ones, stretching high above us, “the secret of your longevity and strength.”

“Every day, I taste happiness,” the first one answered as its last leaves floated to the ground.

“I have learned to accept all that comes to me with gratitude, for everything is a either a lesson or a gift, both given to me with love.”

“I looked in wonder at the changing sky,” the golden one said, “with its endless depth, its sweeping clouds–now wispy, now billowing, now blanketing it all. And oh, the waxing and waning moon, the panoply of stars!  And I saw that all is change and learned to rejoice in time’s cycles.”

“I learned not to push against the winds, but to dance with them, and so I grew supple,” the first one added.  “I stretch my roots deep into the rich earth and it nurtures me.  Above me, the heavens beckon me to reach for their heights.”

“I welcome visitors,” the golden one said, “as they come with their stories and songs.  Some stay long and raise their families in my boughs, and I delight in their companionship and in watching them grow.”

“But mostly,” the older tree said, “we listen to the songs that sing within us, the love songs.  They are what opens us and propels us to grow.  They are how we learned the joy of our connection—to the earth, to the sky, to the winds and the rain.  The love songs that sing through our cells, and through yours, I might add, hold all the secrets.  ‘Live in joy,’ they say. ‘Taste happiness every day.’”

“Yes,” whispered the golden one, her leaves shimmering in the breeze.  “Taste happiness every day.  Taste happiness.”

Dream Seeds

Burst Milkweed Against a Blue Sky.

Like music released from the depths of the soul, the delicate dream seeds dance free.  As light as hope, they lift their precious cargo skyward, in offering to the tomorrows.

For timeless hours they’ll sail, aloft on the breeze, relishing their release, their chance to bring all the beauty that nestles within them to life.

The lucky ones will find fertile ground where some intelligence will enfold them, sheltering them through the winter’s long snows.  And nestled there, they’ll grow, their dream stuff taking shape, multiplying in complexity, each unfolding its own unique form.

But for now they are free, aloft on the breeze.  Take one.  Nurture it through the winter.  See what grows.

Patterns of Joy: A Note to a Friend

Fern and Fallen LeavesIt’s nothing that you think about, I know, or see from the inside.  But I see.

I see how you drop your little kindnesses, a word here, a smile there, as you go about your day.

I see how you reach out, tell a funny story, pat someone on the back, how you listen.

I see the way you notice strangers, give them a grin, ask if you can help them, open doors when their arms are full.

I see how you offer your comfort, how you laugh at everyone’s jokes, how you say, “Good job!”

Layer by layer you build the collage of your thoughtfulness, laying down patterns of joy that decorate the world with their grace.

So I just want to thank you for being exactly who you are, for enriching the lives of us all, and, especially, for being my friend.

Love Flowing Through Us

Autumn Leaves, GlowingSeeking a channel through which to flow, love created human hearts.  Yours, mine.  It’s up to us now.

It’s up to us to fill all the spaces with its glory, to pour it into the cracks, to smooth the gaps of forgetfulness and patch the chasms of suffering and pain.

It’s up to us to saturate the hours with its fragrance, to lift the fallen, to raise our glad so high it tingles in the treetops and kisses the stars in the sky.

It’s up to us to pump it so huge and deep and full (one smile, one touch at a time) that it sparkles in every eye and flows from every hand.

It’s up to us to sing its songs of welcome and healing.   It’s up to us to croon its tenderness, to trumpet its freedom, to glow with its patience, to dance its delight, to prove its power–until everything everywhere overflows with the joy of its infinite Yes and knows its peace.

Letting Go

Late Autumn Hills with Stream

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Letting go of summer, of its flowering bright and green, the hills glow with late autumn’s olives and burnished rust.

Letting go the songbirds, the woods rustle with the whisper of falling leaves.

Letting go the star-spangled midnight, the sky turns azure and sings the dawn and the day.

In the great, sweeping harmony of being, time and the seasons roll on and all things ceaselessly transform.

Below the hills, beneath the boughs, the creek spreads itself smooth.  The clouds and sky and glowing colors echo from its surface, sighing the sweet serenity of letting go.

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Flags of Joy: The Happiness Tale of the Maple Leaves

Red and Orange Maple Leaves.

It was the ride of a lifetime.  They thought thunderstorms were something, that hail was a hoot.  But nothing, nothing had prepared them for this.

All at once the fibers that held them to the tree let go and they were free-floating joy flags, twirling and twirling, all the way down to the ground.

They landed laughing.  More than their bodies were free.  The moment they touched the earth, piling onto the shells of the ones who had gone before, their spirits shook free, too, rising into the autumn air, riding the sounds of their laughter skyward.

It was nothing like they thought it would be.  But then, how could they have known?  How could they have imagined such light, such music, such a colorful, affectionate, mirthful welcome home?