There is something about fall with its bold colors, each leaf distinct, the explosion of red, orange, yellow pigments in artistic play, a cacophony of hues.
I am especially grateful for the turning of leaves this November,2018. Days before the midterm, I am fraught with anticipation and anxiety. Will there be a falling?
The cleansing sweep of leaves represents change, the falling away of what has been in preparation for what is to become. I am grateful for the wisdom of Mother Nature’s seasons.
To thrive, trees must rest. To rest, trees must give up their leaves, strip down, be prepared for the weight of cold and the blanket of snow which will bed, protect and ultimately melt moisture into the roots and provide nourishment for spring’s resurgence and growth.
During my fall childhood, as I walked the mile route to and from school, I scanned the sidewalk for “special” leaves— the perfectly pointed fiery red maples, the curved yellow oaks, the russet chestnuts. Upon arriving home, I slid each leaf in between the pages of Mom’s discarded Woman’s Day magazines. At season’s end, the magazines bulging with stems peeking out, I tucked them away in my room under a heavy book.
Often, as it happens in childhood, I moved on to my next project, forgetting the beauty left behind until spring or even the start of the next fall, when I would begin again. All these years later, still drawn to the search for “special leaves” such as the floating oak leaf caught in the spider’s web framed in the patio glass door, shown in the picture above.
A week has passed since the awful human carnage of faithful Jews, several near my own age, at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill. Raised in an Orthodox Jewish community, daughter of a first generation Yankee father and Lithuanian immigrant mother, I watched television images of congregants in mourning and men in black hoisting caskets of their beloved ones. I read about and listened to stories of the deceased—men and women in the throes of their lives including a married couple wed in 1954 at the Tree of Life Synagogue, the same year as Marv and I were wed.
As my heart wept for the fallen,
I gazed upward
to the bold red/orange/yellow
leaves in change,
leaves in color, leaves falling.
Each precious one
soon to transform
into paper thinness
likes bones to dust,
eleven spirits in flight.
May the beauty of fallen leaves bring comfort to those who mourn.