I returned to the Northwest this season, observing fall for the first time in thirty years.
I watched the trees behind my cottage transform from greens to yellow to gold.
The morning sun hits the bank just so, highlighting shades of crimson and sienna and umber against the verdant backdrop along the ridge.
I walk the beach where gold and yellow tumble with stones and sand.
I climb the hill lined with limbs still holding on to gilded gifts.
One releases, and flutters side to side, descending lightly to the ground to rest.
It is right I am here this autumn,
this season of transforming, maturing
grasping, holding on to gifts–
my children, all grown, branching into careers, marriages.
the youngest two in college, one soon to graduate.
my mother, just out of hospice, quieter now
still sees me, translucent, and smiles.
We spend time browsing through sheaves of photographs
Some in her season, her prime.
I see myself reflected in her smile
those years when she was young
surrounded by friends
when she was a young mother
holding on to us
then letting go
her season follows traveling with Dad
places they dreamed of Rome, Israel,
now alone, in her autumn.
uphill journey rises
crests at forest’s peak, descends
as crimson leaves fall
a time of full maturity, especially the late stages of full maturity or, sometimes, the early stages of decline
In this autumn
I will watch leaves drift unto the path
gathering with others that have done the same.
I will hold in wonder their change
the beauty of ripening, then release.
I will stand still
to catch my breath, not listening to former urges
to press forward.
Instead I will gather leaves
that descend upon my way
Press them into my book
So beautiful Viner! Love and miss you.