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The Other Side

“What happens to the leaves after they turn red and golden and fall away?”
– Mary Oliver, Roses, Late Summer

I walked out just before bedtime for a quick look at the sky. The Northern Taurids peaked the night before, but we had overcast skies and alas, nothing to see here. A quick scan revealed another disappointing cloud cover masking the show. And still Mars shone through the passing clouds, offering hope that if I tried hard enough, maybe I’d see through to the other side. I went to bed instead.

The Leonids offer a second chance, peaking on Tuesday night. The forecast doesn’t look favorable for the peak, but Monday night looks promising, and I promise myself I’ll stay up late to see them. We’ll see.

Promises to ourselves have a way of falling away, like those leaves on the tree. I know where those red and golden leaves go: right over the fence into the woods by the tarp-full. I see them now; mounds of brown, damp leaves transforming back to mulch to feed their kin. And I see them gathering once again on the front lawn, mocking previous hours of work. And I wonder, where did all of these ones come from?

The other side is that place we can’t see but we know it’s there. The other side of a fitness goal is evasive when you’re looking at the scale or your splits and don’t see much progress. The completed novel, the perfect job, the perfect marriage, and whatever it is on the other side of life all tantalize us with how close they are, yet how elusive they remain.

All we control is what we do now. The direction we point ourselves. The consistency and honesty of our effort. Accepting this for all that it is. The rest blows in the wind, landing where it may.

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