Hope is borne on wings. Look at the trees. They turn to gold for a brief while, then lose it all each November. Through the cold months, they stand, take the worst weather has to offer. And still, they put out shy green leaves come April, come May. ~Barbara Crooker from “Sometimes I am Startled Out of Myself”
Trees have wings too — and not only the feathered kind that rest briefly in their branches before taking flight again, to wheel and glide on the breeze.
The wings on trees don’t fly until fall. They bud and blossom and fledge and wave in the wind and turn golden and then, like birds they are released to the sky.
It is a dark fall day. The earth is slightly damp with rain. I hear a jay. The cry is blue. I have found you in the story again. Is there another word for “divine”? I need a song that will keep sky open in my mind. If I think behind me, I might break. If I think forward, I lose now. Forever will be a day like this Strung perfectly on the necklace of days. Slightly overcast Yellow leaves Your jacket hanging in the hallway Next to mine. ~Joy Harjo “Fall Song”
In the string of fall days,
each differs from the one before
and the one that comes after,
a transitional linkage to winter
at once gradual and unrelenting.
If I were to try to stop time,
hold tight a particular moment,
this necklace of days would break and scatter,
as the connection depends
on what was before
what is now
and what is to come.
The trees are undressing, and fling in many places— On the gray road, the roof, the window-sill— Their radiant robes and ribbons and yellow laces; A leaf each second so is flung at will, Here, there, another and another, still and still.
~Thomas Hardy from “Last Week in October”
We think we are mere witness to this,
this transformation happening before our eyes
as unforgiving wind strips leaves from trees
left bare and naked in their bones–
yet we too will be exposed for who we are
under the window dressing we spend so much to create,
too soon nothing is left to cover our flaws
and our bones alone will tell our story of redemption.
This winding down,
this descent into
shorter days and longer nights,
this preparation for an autumn austerity,
reminds me of my ongoing emptying,
once so full of fruit and seed,
now clinging to what is left me~
the joys, the tears,
the eyes of my brimming heart.
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The leaves are falling, falling as if from far up, as if orchards were dying high in space. Each leaf falls as if it were motioning “no.” And tonight the heavy earth is falling away from all other stars in the loneliness. We’re all falling. This hand here is falling. And look at the other one. It’s in them all. And yet there is Someone, whose hands infinitely calm, holding up all this falling. ~Rainer Maria Rilke “Autumn” translated by Robert Bly
Sometimes I wake from my sleep
with a palpitating start:
dreaming of falling,
my body pitching and tumbling
yet somehow I land,
~oh so softly~
in my bed,
my fear quashed and cushioned by
I feel caught up,
rescued amid the fall
we all will do,
like leaves drifting down
from heaven’s orchard,
like seeds released like kisses
into the air,
the earth rises to meet me
and Someone cradles me there.
And then there is that day when all around, all around you hear the dropping of the apples, one by one, from the trees. At ﬁrst it is one here and one there, and then it is three and then it is four and then nine and twenty, until the apples plummet like rain, fall like horse hoofs in the soft, darkening grass, and you are the last apple on the tree; and you wait for the wind to work you slowly free from your hold upon the sky, and drop you down and down. Long before you hit the grass you will have forgotten there ever was a tree, or other apples, or a summer, or green grass below, You will fall in darkness… ~Ray Bradbury from Dandelion Wine
We are in the midst of our annual October storms complete with pelleting sheets of rain and gusty breezes. Along with power outages and an ever-present risk of flooding, these storms facilitate the annual “falling of the fruit” from our trees. It is risky to walk in the orchard this time of year – one could stroll about enjoying the brisk temperatures and autumn colors and be unexpectedly bonked on the head and knocked out cold.
The apples thud like horse hooves in the grass as our Haflingers race about in the cool wet weather enjoying the last bit of freedom before the winter lock up. Apples thud like over large rain drops but without the splatter. Apples thud after gradually loosening their hold on the sky and plummeting to come to rest on a soft carpet of green.
I recognize this call to let go, although clinging tenaciously when buffeted, my strength waning. Thought I fret and worry, the time must come for the pulled-forth fall. I may land a bit bruised, but will glisten golden from the journey.