I want to cling to fall; to hang, clasped tight, onto every blessed minute of it. My eyes have not yet opened wide enough to take in the kaleidoscope of colour bursting over the hills and valleys, cold waters rushing over granite, the mist drifting with the morning light, or the harvest and hunter’s moons heaving themselves over the horizon.
If you pause to listen, you will hear a conversation with the light, and slopes that rustle with bittersweet knowing…alas this is a fleeting thing. Like a twilight that lingers, echoing with the song of a distant coyote. But perhaps beneath the howl, beneath the sorrow of leaving lies the sharpest kind of living joy.
I live in hill country, where hardwood slopes erupt into a stained glass mosaic for a few short weeks. The sun bends low in the scarcity of these days, peering up the skirts of the maples approving them with inner light. And, then one day, as if they cannot sustain this glory for long, the brilliance tarnishes into a tawny blush as they drop their skirts, crinolines crinkling and gathering in the shadows at their feet.
It is a stunning land, come October…a land that teaches us of the ephemeral, and the everlasting, rhythm of nature’s seasons. I have basked in 52 autumns here and a part of me that sleeps all year, comes alive with the damp chill rising, with the applause of the birch and the tremulous flicker of the wheaten aspen, the ripples of marsh grass, tamped and swirled as a yellow dog’s mane.
I welcome this time of gathering…of geese and ducks, of mushrooms and winter’s wood, of community suppers and pumpkins, of warm soups and apples, of seeds and nuts and dusk, even as I bemoan its passing. A time of celebrating the golden wishes that came to rest and the approaching quiet that blankets it all.
You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.