You’d think living through 66 Autumns surrounded by millions of leaves changing into the colors of rubies, topazes, amethysts and citrines might lose its power to amaze a person.
But this year as in every year it still makes me want to drive under the speed limit to get as much of these colors into my memory as possible before winter sets in. (The only people I know are telling the truth when they say they just love a cold, snowy New England winter are my cousins who moved from Waltham to Miami 50 years ago.)
This has been a hard year and I’ll be glad to see it go. But for now, we have all this beauty around us. No matter what happens in our lives the leaves are going to become like jewels on the trees, they’ll die and fall to the ground, and in spring new leaves will appear. The trees get on with it. I’m working on that lesson.
What are you thinking about as we enter the final months of this year?
Song for Autumn, by Mary Oliver
Don’t you imagine the leaves dream now how comfortable it will be to touch the earth instead of the nothingness of the air and the endless freshets of wind?
And don’t you think the trees, especially those with mossy hollows, are beginning to look for the fires that will come—six, a dozen—to sleep inside their bodies?
And don’t you hear the goldenrod whispering goodbye, the everlasting being crowned with the first tuffets of snow?
The pond stiffens and the white field over which the fox runs so quickly brings out its long blue shadows. The wind wags its many tails.
And in the evening the piled firewood shifts a little, longing to be on its way.
Mary Oliver’s first collection, No Voyage and Other Poems, was published in 1963. She won the Pulitzer in 1984 for the collection American Primitive.