It’s edges are a little ragged, this leaf that was so recently young and startlingly green. For a long time it graced a branch, with many like it, absorbing the sun, sheltering birds, shading those below it.
It’s days are shorter now and it’s nights, longer. As the chlorophyll wanes it’s veins begin to stand out and for a few short weeks, or perhaps just days, it transforms into the brilliant color it was always meant to be.
Through every long, hot, sweltering summer I wait for October. The month itself is my happy place.
October encompasses thirty-one days of transition during which summer lingers and obstinately hangs around, the first days of the month often acting like they belong to August, but eventually giving way to shiver inspiring mornings and nights that beg for fires to be lit.
The greens of summer hold on as long as they possibly can, reluctantly giving way to the yellows and golds that are the harbingers of nature’s last burst of celebration, when reds and oranges emerge in a blaze of glory before the woods settle into the deep sleep of winter.
I turn to the woods on October days. There’s solitude in them, and a peace that takes hold of my soul. Leaves twist and turn, caught by the wind as they flutter from high perches to take their place on the carpet of color at my feet. Small streams meander alongside, and often in the way of, well-worn walking paths. I stop, fascinated with the movement of light and color beneath and on top of the water.
On this 15th day of October, I sit on my deck, surrounded by the very woods I walk in, and I can feel the expectancy of the cacophony of color that lies in wait. It’s close. Within a week these trees will be glorious and I’ll try to spend as much time as I can among them.
As I wait I have memories of other autumns and other Octobers in other places.
I came into this world in October. When the time comes, I hope I also exit it during this glorious month. Before the first snow comes I want autumn leaves to rest on my grave.