I stand still in the slant of late afternoon sunlight
filtering softly through the surrounding forest.
It is Autumn again, and I hold a rake in my hands.
Its simple stick magic keeps me anchored to the earth,
even though the brilliant blue sky beckons.
Pines, Oaks, Dogwoods, and Maples gather around me,
dispensing their colorful little sutras for my consideration.
At first glance, each one seems to read ‘impermanence’.
The conditioned mind attributes meanings like that.
Light shapes itself into an endless kaleidoscope of forms
for its own amusement, its own enthralling play.
It connects everything to itself in a mosaic of luminous fibers
which cast the same wondrous spell as that enchanting music
you sometimes seem to remember, but never can quite place.
Even as I tilt my head to listen, fragile little boats of life’s decay
spiral down on a wanton breeze, gently bearing with them
the intrinsic bio-essence of all the countless universes.
They are reunited with each other in the leafy mounds I rake,
but they remain silent, as if something solemn and majestic
will be happening soon, and they must keep quiet.
It is an annual ceremony, though repetition does not lessen
the impact of this seasonal ritual, but rather enshrines it
in a golden memory aging people will inevitably recall
with a varied mixture of poignancy and wistfulness,
as if it all amounted to something solemn and majestic,
and in its own way, and in its own time, it does.