Falling for Fall

By: Anne Corke

Oct 26 2022

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Category: Rural Nature

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I love fall. And this fall has been exceptional. Cool crisp mornings. Sunny warm afternoons. Fabulous foliage. Sparkling night skies. I love to drive the backroads where each turn in the road, each crest of the hill, reveals another breathtaking view of the countryside. I often drive with four way flashers on as I frequently need to pull over and take another photo. At home, I spend more time on the deck in the fall than any other time. Perhaps knowing that fall is fleeting, I’m reluctant to look away. So I put on the kettle, make another cup of tea and sit just a bit longer. My beloved ginkgo tree’s leaves usually turns a pale butter colour in the fall but this year there is a definite hint of red. (Indeed the red pigments have been particularly evident this year in most trees.) One day soon a hard frost, a heavy rain or a strong wind will convince it to drop those leaves and they will be gone in a blizzard of yellow in the space of a few hours. The falling leaves of the maple, lilac, birch, apple, chestnut, burning bush, fothergilla and ginkgo are transforming the green grass into an elaborate Oriental carpet of red, purple, yellow, bronze, magenta and orange. Another magical moment in this most magical of seasons. I wrote this fall poem a few years ago and just recently came across it again.

Falling for Fall

Summer has come and gone, but fall, my favourite season, lingers on.

Like the spring, fall is a season of transformation
Nature’s features fade in and out.
Summer’s lively greens give way to a startling palette of reds, oranges and yellows
And the countryside is splashed with colour.

But too soon the leaves are gone
Their withered remains blow about on chill fall winds like so many lost souls,
Piling up along the fences as if huddling together for warmth
Only the leathery gold gingko leaves remain, pooling below the tree
As if the colour had melted and flowed down to the ground.

The night sky is wide and black
Like a length of velvet floating over the earth.
Frost on the grass sparkles, mirroring the stars above,
Chronicling my random garden wanderings in soft white depressions

The old apple tree is silhouetted against the evening sky
Bare now, it’s crooked form stands in stark contrast
To the ripe, round celadon apples still clinging to it’s branches
Like so many small luminescent moons.
Soon their grip will fail and they will drop to the ground
To be consumed by the creatures of the dusk,
The deer, the foxes, the coyotes.

A lichened gargoyle peeks out from under the arbour,
Guarding my domain against evil spirits.

Barren scapes of daylilies stand above clumps of spent foliage
Like pins in a pincushion
The garden is preparing for a well-earned winter rest,
It’s blooms now long gone
Save for the sinuous white flowers of the bugbane
Lurking in the far corner.
The plants will be cut back soon
But I will leave the coneflowers standing
As food for the chickadees and goldfinches.

The dogs stand entranced, heads raised,
Breathing in the damp, primal odors
Of the newly turned fields,
Tasting molecules recent and ancient,
Devouring stories of the land
As silence falls across the fields.

Copyright October 2022 Anne Corke