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To Be On Our Way

In the deep fall
don’t you imagine the leaves think how
comfortable it will be to touch
the earth instead of the
nothingness of air and the endless
freshets of wind? And don’t you think
the trees themselves, especially those with mossy,
warm caves, begin to think
of the birds that will come – six, a dozen – to sleep
inside their bodies? And don’t you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow? The pond
vanishes, and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
its blue shadows. And the wind pumps its
bellows. And at evening especially,
the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way.

— Mary Oliver, Song for Autumn

Autumn whispers to us through trees. For trees, naturally rooted to place, learn a thing or two in their seasons. Whole communities once thrived in places where only trees stand today. Old stone walls and cellar holes, old road beds and grooves in stone that once served as a simple mill. These things become more apparent when we act like trees and linger awhile.

Humans aren’t rooted to a place, not really, we’re too prone to wandering. In this way, we’re more like the leaves, sailing off to find our place in the wind, eventually landing and becoming a part of the place we settle into in our time. If leaves become loam and feed the forest, don’t we too feed the future in our service to others?

But there’s a restlessness in many of us. Perhaps remembering our time as leaves and longing to fly once again, a fire burns inside. Our fire, when fully expressed, may transform and carry us to places we couldn’t imagine before we fed the spark. Feed the fire, autumn whispers.

Surely, ash returns to earth just as leaves do. But how far might it soar before it turns back towards the earth? We live in days, but ought to think in seasons. Everything has its time. The earth awaits.

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