The passing of the summer fills again my heart with strange sweet sorrow, and I find the very moments precious in my palm. Each dawn I did not see, each night the stars in spangled pattern shone, unknown to me, are counted out against me by my God, who charges me to see all lovely things… ~Jane Tyson Clement from “Autumn”
The songs of small birds fade away into the bushes after sundown, the air dry, sweet with goldenrod. Beside the path, suddenly, bright asters flare in the dusk. The aged voices of a few crickets thread the silence. It is a quiet I love, though my life too often drives me through it deaf. Busy with costs and losses, I waste the time I have to be here—a time blessed beyond my deserts, as I know, if only I would keep aware. The leaves rest in the air, perfectly still. I would like them to rest in my mind as still, as simply spaced. As I approach, the sorrel filly looks up from her grazing, poised there, light on the slope as a young apple tree. A week ago I took her away to sell, and failed to get my price, and brought her home again. Now in the quiet I stand and look at her a long time, glad to have recovered what is lost in the exchange of something for money. ~Wendell Berry “The Sorrel Filly”
Your death, near now, is of an easy sort. So slow a fading out brings no real pain. Breath growing short Is just uncomfortable. You feel the drain Of energy, but thought and sight remain:
Enhanced, in fact. When did you ever see So much sweet beauty as when fine rain falls On that small tree And saturates your brick back garden walls, So many Amber Rooms and mirror halls?
Ever more lavish as the dusk descends This glistening illuminates the air. It never ends. Whenever the rain comes it will be there, Beyond my time, but now I take my share.
My daughter’s choice, the maple tree is new. Come autumn and its leaves will turn to flame. What I must do Is live to see that. That will end the game For me, though life continues all the same:
Filling the double doors to bathe my eyes, A final flood of colors will live on As my mind dies, Burned by my vision of a world that shone So brightly at the last, and then was gone. ~Clive James (who is terminally ill) from this week’s New Yorker
We are more together than we know, how else could we keep on discovering we are more together than we thought? You are the known way leading always to the unknown, and you are the known place to which the unknown is always leading me back. More blessed in you than I know… ~Wendell Berry from “The Country of Marriage”
Last night the rain spoke to me slowly, saying, what joy to come falling out of the brisk cloud, to be happy again in a new way on the earth! That’s what it said as it dropped, smelling of iron, and vanished like a dream of the ocean into the branches and the grass below. Then it was over. The sky cleared. I was standing under a tree. The tree was a tree with happy leaves, and I was myself, and there were stars in the sky that were also themselves at the moment at which moment my right hand was holding my left hand which was holding the tree which was filled with stars and the soft rain – imagine! imagine! the long and wondrous journeys still to be ours. ~Mary Oliver