“Autumn is the year’s last, loveliest smile” William Cullen Bryant
My lone maple tree in the front yard is doing its thing. As all of nature, it meekly obeys the laws of the season. With branches exposed, leaves going, going, gone, I can easily picture my grandboys climbing upwards with the helpful boost of their grandpa, while my heart was in my throat. It’s the same tree I laughingly watched, many springs ago, as my sweet neighbor deftly dug up my perfectly placed impatiens, replanting them in her own garden. (To be fair, she did think they were planted by community landscapers; thus fair game)
I know my proud tree will soon become a snow laden skeleton and spring buds won’t emerge until another season of bloom. But right now, its leaves are dying a Technicolor death. Others will grow and follow in another year, another season, but these particular leaves, who’ve shaded the grandsons throwing Frisbies – will be gone forever.
Like those we love, like we ourselves – to everything there is a season. The season our husbands, our wives, our mothers, fathers or siblings shared with us has been swept away along with the stunning foliage that was theirs alone. To us it’s never the right time or season for leaf loss. We don’t care that they become merely crinkled and aged shadows of their neon green selves. We don’t care that they’ve reached the end of their season with nowhere to go but the ether. We just want them – there. When the tree is no longer lush, barely able to still shade and shelter, when fall’s brutal winds remove the leaves and bare sad, naked branches, we want to hold on to the season. We want to grasp spring buds and fall’s kaleidescope tightly, thinking we can save them from morphing into winter’s stark silouettes. Ha! Just like all of life, autumn . . . leaves.
Still, I’ve always loved the fall; the colors, the cider, the scent, the chill. Autumn had barely begun last year when my sweet man’s season ended. Today I watch the bare tree from my window, with its branches wide in its ever-changing embrace and think that maybe it holds the answer to life’s secret sauce. That tree doesn’t fight the seasons, the ebb and flow of life and death, it goes with it. While no amount of sage realizations will stop me from loving or missing my husband, remembering that ‘to everything there is a season’ will help me live better in mine. Then maybe, before my own branches are bare, I just might discover how to grow the light and color in my days that now fly even faster than autumn leaves.
They say there’s something about autumn that wakes our senses and reminds us to live. Shira Tamir said ‘Anyone who thinks fallen leaves are dead have never watched them dancing on a windy day”. I’d rather not wait until then, thank you.
Did anyone see my dancin’ shoes? I need to get a move on.