Saturday, December 6, 2008

Fall Leaves, the Smokies

Fall’s Messages

I love a day so clear
that the Smoky Mountains
leap right back at you,
with each line of their attitude distinct
and every view seeming closer
as if my eyes were young again
and I can know what I see
and not have to guess,
as I have to do in high Summer
when drifting cloud and mist,
and even just the lazy hazy blur
of air stuffed with water,
soften all shapes,

high up, the trees are mostly bare
and what leaves are left are mostly brown and crinkled,

just down the mountain the brown is suffused with a brooding red,

and below that banking the leaves of the trees
can sometimes still remember the impressionists
in brilliant suffusions of yellow and gold
and the blush within the red of a maple,

deep in the valley at the cabin
the beech is at the peak of its fall,
as I look up into its branches
I am overcome with their exuberance,
in the creek yellow and golden maple and poplar leaves abound
as if they’re flower petals
strewn about in celebration of something significant,

beneath the green these colors hid themselves
over the long growing season,
and they only reveal themselves for a few days
until they fade into oak brown
and forget themselves as the brown earth draws them
and then hungry roots recycle them back into new growth,

fall seems a time to get to basics
and understand the structure that underlies the forest,
for a while it is a time of bounty
and the bears fatten so they can last to spring,
and we feast at Thanksgiving to celebrate the harvest,
and to echo the bears who know lean times come,
and spirit and body need to know both the passing bounty
and the underlying structure that knows the passing,
and readies for the Spring that surely will come.

by Henry H. Walker
November 6, ‘08

Curtain Call for the Leaves

if we’re lucky,
time flutters down and away
like Autumn’s wind-dropped leaves,
who twist and spiral
in one last fleeting flare of individuality
within a grand corporate dance
through which I meander and marvel,

they drop and hold their repose
as they wait for the curtain,

on the ground each of their points
softly blurs one into the other,
a palette that glows with vibrant color
as if each realizes it’s the curtain call
and soon they’ll fade back and away from our notice--

the glow of the light will dim
and earth-brown will claim them.

by Henry H. Walker
November 8, ‘08

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