Trees burn with autumn colors.
Sky smokes and smolders.
Berries ripen, soften, wrinkle and fall.
Ferns have gone gold and brown,
frost brings them down. Leaves die
and dive or dance, or spiral down
or drown in the darkening brook.

We put the garden to bed, and cut
stems back, its vines gone black.
Tomato plants look weary now.
Life is a ragged leaf,
its edges rough, bug-eaten,
a leaf that’s going to fall.

Burt wait.

All this sad talk of autumn death and loss
just isn’t right.
Too much defeat and diminishment.
It isn’t all decay.
This is a time of harvest,
of showing your true colors,
of offering what is ripe and beautiful
and life-giving.
Those tomatoes are just coming on.
If I hang the vines with faith
I’ll still be eating ripe ones in December.
What may look like a day of death
is a day of fullness.

The trees are brilliant,
startling in their brashness.
They’re old enough to get away with it.


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