Sunday, November 7, 2010

Red, then Gone

Yesterday, running through the park with Duncan, the two of us caught up in the heat and revelry that was the most incredible November day I can remember, we passed a glorious bush, bursting with red leaves, each of them catching the heavy golden rays of the late afternoon sun. It was like a heart, beating and filled with blood and lust and fire right there in the middle of the park, so bright and overwhelming it was almost obscene to look upon. We must have passed it a hundred times this Autumn but this time––at this instant––it exploded in our presence, as if it had lived its entire life for one brief moment, waiting for the eyes of a dreamer, someone who does not easily forget, to gaze upon it before it was swept away by the coming winter. 

We stopped and stood before it so I could reach out and touch the delicate brittling leaves, half afraid they would burn the tips of my fingers when I did so. They were still soft, though, like velvet, and I wished there was something I could do, take it home with me perhaps, something to preserve it exactly as it was.

But this weather and these colors cannot last. This afternoon, warm but windier than I would've liked, we crossed into the park when the sun was low in the sky, painting its rays above the mountains in clear streaks, and went back to the bush. I needed to see it one more time, to burn it onto my eyes and memory but the moment had passed. The wind had swept the leaves away, all but one, and the sun ignored it as it danced on the air and resisted the tug of the wind. Duncan stood by my side, leaned into me and the two of us held our breath until that one leaf relented, gave up its battle with the season and was finally swept free of its branch. It twirled once in the air, struck me in the chest and was whisked away forever.

What a difference a single day can make.

The long darkness is coming. Winter is nearly upon us and these walks with Roo in the daylight will be brief and rare. How I wish that bush would burn through all the cold walks ahead.

The one red leaf, the last of its clan, 

That dances as often as dance it can, 

Hanging so light, and hanging so high, 

On the topmost twig that looks up at the sky.

(Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

1 comment:

Sam said...

Beautiful, as always.