An Autumn Stroll

Post Date: October 22nd, 2015


On a cool October morning I walk down into the village. I cross through the cathedral that is the small forest where an old gnarled tree marks the fork in the path. The crisp, clear air carries the sound of squirrels scurrying through fallen leaves.

I amble onto sidewalks thick with maple leaves whipped off trees by yesterday’s windy gusts. I feel childlike glee at the crackly crunch when stepping on these dry wonders. As I turn the corner I see neighbors raking their lawns near flaming red burning bushes. Despite the weekend frost, rose bushes still hold their blooms.

Leaves flutter around me as I wend my way. Most drop from maples, oaks and locusts, but a few ashes and elms contribute to the mix. I pass an area where boulders flank a copse of redbud trees with clinging yellow-brown foliage. Around the bend I step into the golden chapel formed by the sun-drenched canopy of a Norway maple. Down the lane is a thicket of tall green bushes with yellow grapevine leaves winding through them. 

I reach the destination of my daughter and son-in-law’s home where I feed my grandbunnies and cuddle my grandkitties to minimize their loneliness while the vacationers enjoy Australia. Then I unsheathe the unread Sunday newspaper and take the plastic bag for the journey back home.

In it I collect chromatic leaves – tawny, yellow, peach, orange, cranberry, burgundy – that grace the ground I walk on. As I lose myself in the leaves I reflect on how vibrant the process of dying is. Or perhaps it is the process of putting to sleep, tucking in, crawling under.

I melt wax in a small pan on the stove when I get home, the same wax I’ve used for years and store away for the next autumn. Each leaf is dipped then cooled to preserve its form, color and lie. I spread them in little clusters on surfaces in the kitchen and living room, bringing the season inside and reminding me to batten down the hatches in anticipation of a more muted time.

Now a mug of warm apple cider with cinnamon stick in my favorite chair.