October couldn’t go without leaving one last treat, a thank you gift for all the oohs and ahhs we’d given her.
And so, she rounded up an emissary, promised him favorable winds and smooth sailing if he would do one favor.
It was nearly dusk when I heard the telltale whoosh. Could it be? Could it really be?
I listened as the intermittent puffing of the balloon’s firebox as it made its way over the woods atop the western hill. Closer and closer it came until at last I saw it floating, there, way down by the iron bridge.
Ha! Look! It’s dressed in patches of color! Wouldn’t you know. That’s some trick, October, some treat.
Happy Halloween, old gal. See you next year.
Having spent her color in a grand exhalation of joy, October rested, breathing in the reds and golds, the fragrances and warmth of early autumn until they were no more. She had fulfilled September’s promise. Her mission was nearly complete.
She looked about at the muted landscape and with one graceful sweep of her arm, ushered in the clouds, her welcoming gift for November.
She paused as she watched them fill the hills and vales with fog and rain and snow, savoring the breadth of the transition her work had wrought.
It seemed only yesterday that she had waltzed in the door to a world bathed in emerald and flowers. The days had passed so swiftly.
She remembered the nights when she felt she had done so little, accomplished so few of her goals. Yet now, looking back to the beginning, she could see the sum of her persistent tiny adjustments. Frankly, she was amazed.
Suddenly, from the north, a strong, cold wind blew in, waking her from her reverie. She turned, and with one last glimpse at her completed work, smiled in satisfaction and slipped silently away.
The valley was filled all day with heavy mists and rain, looking spooky with the crooked arms of the bare trees silhouetted against it. I dreamed last night of cats, and this morning one cried at my bedroom window.
I heated apple cider, stirred it with a cinnamon stick come all the way from Ceylon, and listened to the rain, clawing like sharpened fingernails against my window, the wind whining down my chimneys, crows calling to one another through the cold, wet air.
It was late afternoon before the rain stopped and the fog cleared away. From across the creek, I heard coyotes howl.
Then Old Sol, the Jack of all Lanterns, threw his light on the distant hills, turning them Halloween orange.
I watched bats circle above the trees, gave the cat some milk, and bit into a pumpkin drop cookie.
She tucks the tiny square of color into her rag bag. Nothing goes to waste.
She will sew it into a quilt, paste it in a collage, weave it into a rug, stuff it in the hole in a shoe. Maybe next season, the birds will want it to line their nests; you never know.
Pods and seeds fall to the bag’s bottom. Feathers, petals, leaves; they all go in.
Everything gets recycled. Her imagination will make it new, turn it into a miracle, a work of art.
She paws through the bag on long winter nights and dreams her dreams.
The dark days are upon us. Soon the earth will freeze and the air will be filled with crystalline snow, burying the last of the fallen golden leaves, erasing all color.
The trees will stand bare in the cold, devoid of songbirds, their branches crackling in the wind.
Some would ask how we could go forth now, into the bleakness. What kind of life will we have in such a hostile world?
We wrap their limited vision in compassion.
We, you see, believe in adventure. We believe the darkness grants us opportunity to spin great dreams and to ready ourselves for living them when the warmth returns.
We, the children of autumn, go forth boldly, confident in who we are, and fully trusting tomorrow.
She’s like a kid set loose with a new kit of paints. The whole world’s her sketchbook. There’s nowhere she doesn’t leave her mark.
Red vines scraggle down the fence posts. Splotches of yellow leaves dot the puddles and the moss. Seeds fly on white feathers or lodged in tan copters that whirl to the ground.
She has a certain feel for color and space. Everything falls in such precise harmony, each part relating to the other just so, as if it could not possibly be otherwise.
Why just this morning, after the rain, I found a still life on the boards of my front porch. Isn’t it exquisite? Do you see what I mean?
The late morning sun focused on the maple as if she were a star, just stepped onto the stage.
She stood poised and tall against the blue sky, her golden leaves shimmering like sequins as they quivered slightly in the breeze. She looked about her, surveying the scene.
So matchless was its beauty that a rush of happiness washed from her roots all the way to the very tip of her crown.
By the time it reached her topmost leaf, she was saturated with such ecstacy that all she could do was sing praise.
“Amen,” she sang, her song penetrating the woodland. “Amen. Amen. Amen.”
Then the trees around her picked up the song and joined their voices to hers, and the forest rang with joy.
Get past the skin of things. Beneath the shining waters are unseen worlds. Fishes live and learn and love. Rocks tell their stories. Forests dance. Countless billions of lives go on, each with its tale, its moments of tragedy and triumph, sorrow and joy.
Beneath the golden surface, beyond the reflection, past the shimmering illusions, a fragile complexity unfolds. Hold it in mind. Sense its holiness.
It came from the same somewhere as you and shares the same longings. It pushes itself into the moments, seeking to be the fullest it can be, to expand past its edges, to reveal from within itself something never before seen.
Lighter than the clouds, we waltz with the breeze , flying our joy flags. We need no reason; they are too many to count and we would rather dance.
All the trees are singing and the hawk flies in the sky. Everything’s in motion; let us dance.
The creek is rushing over the rocks, its bubbles racing downstream. The fishes gleam beneath its waters. And we are flying our joy flags
Oh, celebrate! Celebrate the beauty of this day. Celebrate its light and its motion and its song.
It is too beautiful to spend on anything but celebration. We spin and we twirl and hurl our colors to the wind. Come, dance with us. We’re flying our joy flags.
Every stitch in the tapestry matters and is necessary, every shade, every hue;
Each twig, each fallen leaf and those that still cling to their branches, wearing their olive and citron garb;
The sun shining on them, just so, and all the tiny ripples in the lake and the grasses along the shore;.
The skins that quiver in the cool air and beneath the green water, the eyes that see, the hearts that beat to the rhythm of the song, the minds that drink in its beauty, the spirits that echo back the Yes;
This dance is the gift. And we are the dancers, a living tapestry of twigs and leaves, of the earth and waters, we, with our feathers and fins and bare white limbs reaching skyward, we, the air and the sunlight, the breathing and the breathed, the seers and the seen. We are the tapestry; we are the dance.