The Forest of Missing Summer Leaves
The heart, inspired by the seasons, refreshes and re-news the mindscape of mistakes into a new days’ bloom.
Coaxed by an autumn breeze to gleaming black water,
my footsteps followed the path missed by the falling leaves.
I stop to sit by the running stream. Not out of breath,
but to breathe in the reflecting opposite bank,
with all the space in-between. Infinity and my glittering reflection
trickle quietly below my feet.
I lift my gaze towards summers abandoned forest.
Branches like limbered limbs sway to shake off
any lingering leaf, before they firmly embrace me.
I was placed under the table of an Oak,
a Maple and a Witches’ tree.
The Oak, has never bowed before the Fall;
with its resume of annual harvests, strongly boasting
of this gift of marvel, “From seed to parent!
From winter food to a spectacular Spring revival!
Oh, and lest you forget the acorn caps
that I provide, to warm little heads
of winter elves, who choose to travel.”
The chatter went on. I felt too meek to scramble.
The Maple, reminding the Oak, that it needs no address
of residence, or of its stature from tree house to nest.
“I have a sweet disposition from sap to pancakes,” the Maple stated,
“not to mention my perfect branches for a child’s first swing,
or a lover’s garden gate. I am an open invitation to all;
with timeless memorable adventures for my pleasure and my guests.
Whether animal, human, insect or any other visiting dignitary
you might expect.”
I tremble to hear, feeling unworthy, for what may be next.
The witches’ tree enjoyed her notoriety in folklore.
In Spring regalia, she mused, of her beautiful white flowers
attracting only wasps; adding solidarity to her encroaching offsprings.
“When autumn comes”, her voice lowered to a chill,
“the attraction is no more.
I screech naked in the full moon. I crack and cackle
to attract the mischievous spirits now able to fly about.
Collecting my strength from the tippee tip of moonlit branches;
forcing it down to my roots in spell making dances.
Then, before the breaking of light, I secrete some drops,
not too much. I leave behind just a little in sticky dew
to mellow this season’s batch, of witch’s brew.”
At that, they shook branches and made a promise to keep.
“All space must stay open, for the snow to cover the leaves.”
And, to meet again in the Spring, completely dressed and unseen.
Under the table, shivering, kneeling beside black water;
I stood in the reflecting sunset dimming between leafless trees.
I pulled up my collar, suggested by the accompanied insisting wind.
I must keep moving through the forest and let it be. Wherever, my steps fell,
wherever they are, I will leave them among this season’s summer leaves.”