I’m not sure where you are: if you’re even in a country where the leaves turn to gold. If you live a city where the wind turns to cold. Nibbling at your ears.
It’s Fall here.
And here, is where I am.
Fall is the old age of life — our last decades — when our skin pales and wrinkles, when our pace slows in both our muscles and our minds. Yet Fall is not death, but rather its messenger. It’s bringer. Or perhaps, it’s nature’s last, hopeful attempt at life.
Perhaps, instead, Fall ought to be called Pull: when life is snatched from the tops of the trees and dragged through the soft mud and crunching leaves. When Death’s frigid secrets are whispered into the ears of the flowers, curdling into dark milk — a cold, black, and earthy ale.
I imagine Death enjoys a cool pint of Guinness. The metallic tinge dripping across his tongue. He watches, as it’s poured, in dehydration. His anticipation growing as the soft, tan fuzz slowly settles to the top of the brew. And when his lips touch that foamy, white crown —
That’s when I imagine the first leaves of Fall fall.
As silent as a kitten’s purr.
It’s magic: that battle for life. For sometimes the leaves do not fall at all. No, sometimes in Fall the leaves fly.
On the wind beneath the wings of your coat, that cuts through your skin. And for a second, as you reach out your arms — for just a second — you feel like a bird floating above the carefully painted trees, the tapestry of leaves, a migrating cocoon of red blood and suns’ gold.
For just a second, you can soar.
Overnight the little squirrels grow fatter, the burly trees a bit thinner, and everything, just a bit softer. A bit more quiet. Our cups grow hotter — flooding our senses with warm chocolates and cinnamons, apple orchards and dark fields of bright pumpkins — and you watch as the steam rises towards the ceiling, reaching out towards the fog calmly rolling into the city.
And on some cold, leafless night, you share your first dragon’s breath with the world. The warmth of your inner flame like a pale cloud against the huddled night sky, the stars bundled in their cumulus blankets. They threaten to bring snow. Gray hands offering up their small crystals of ice.
But that will only come when Death finishes his drink. When he places his empty glass against the long, oaken bar. The empty sound of a hollow clink.
Death is still drinking now—leaving time for us to be drunk! Wrapped in sweaters on cobbled streets, roasting turkey’s in our honeyed, cozy homes, wishing a houseless stranger on the street a “good day” and to “keep warm.” Fall is their home. Bathed in falling leaves, fed on wind and rain. The fraying world smiles as it looks back on its life.
It smiles, and it knows.
Benjamin Button was born in the Fall. The Fall of his life. And he lived slowly backwards through his long Summertime, and into his receding Spring. But he ended in Winter. It always ended in Winter. White-laced Winter. The cold blanket pulled over the tired land, eyes drooping into a dozing sleep.
Robert Frost once wrote, “Nothing Gold Can Stay.”
Those of you living in the deserts might disagree — might long for his words to be true! But gold measured in sand is of a different kind of worth. A truly timeless value. Of which we often seem to have more than not enough. Like the warmest of winters, left to lie by Father Time, a sand man in his ever-beating heart.
Yet Frost was not all wrong: This grass will fade as my hair will thin and my eyes will gray — barely enough strength to pluck the final golden apple from the solemn, naked tree.
But now there are leaves, pumpkin pies, and candies of All Hallows’ Eve.
And I am content to sit here and watch the world color, before it grays, in its losing battle against the gravity of time and space.
It’s Fall here.
And here is where I am.