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”
You linger on my tongue like the tang of apples, cool and wet and utterly alive. Your colors are dazzling, but that’s not why I love you.
I love the way you rejoice in the coming death.
You drop your leaves as though they were nothing, to remind us there is joy in letting go. You expose yourself, naked to the coming destruction, and face it with anticipation rather than fear. Death is only cruel because you make it so, you whisper with the wisdom of the Crone.
Mist drapes you like sheets over unused furniture. Are you preparing for winter abandonment, or do you represent the yet-unexplored rooms of our souls into which we stumble when the veil is thin? You veil our eyes to unveil our hearts, so we may hear the questions to our answers. You remind us of the places between, where Spirit dwells. You restore our sense of mystery, keeping your secrets locked tight.
You are the moment between waking and sleeping, the last gasp before winter entombment. You draw out the energy that weaves all things together. Your scythe makes the world hum with life.
Never change, Fall, and always keep changing.
Featured image by Brandon Godfrey—Ross Bay Cemetery: Fall colors, CC BY 2.0