It’s uncertain what one finds in fall. Sometimes it’s moist loam, a burying insect moving to the less frozen ground. Sometimes it’s blazing trees, with leaves of sulphur and fire. Sometimes the heat only shifts a few degrees. Sometimes it becomes summer again, even hotter than before.
The maple in front of our house is colored and shapeshifting. It’s time to gather the leaves, in regalia, and wonder about the twilight years.
What started as a worthy attempt to become a college graduate has fallen into chaos and depression. In my rollercoaster mind, what seemed a gradual rise turned into a loopy-loop, dropping everything from my seat that wasn’t belted down. Autumn has become a failure of nerves, overwhelmed and poking timidly at the work spread in front of me.
Still, there is light and water, sun and stars. By stepping away and turning this leaf there is fecundity, rich growth. My words may stumble under their own weight, but the roots are pushing forward, finding nutrition in the deepening soil. On the outside there is another wreath and garden flag. Internally, the tree slows down and rests until the sunlight increases again in spring. The pace is slowing, not in step with the demands of current living. The harvest is beginning, gathering words and thoughts like apples. Some may have worms but all have their uses. All return to the soil and are regenerated, life after life.
I wonder about the legacy of our lives. Is it all useless frittering, gaining a piece of paper or a number on a Web site? But even paper and electronics break down, though not completely for many years. I think it is in the small spaces; listening to a child, baking a fresh apple pie. The little bit of tilling in our lives. Straining to be creative, even if it’s a stick figure on a cocktail napkin, The rewards are reaped and then it’s time to lay fallow, nurturing the next dream or idea. The bounty awaits.