Sunday, October 4, 2009

early autumn in the woods

early autumn.
the evenings are chill.
the days are often rainy and cool.

the leaves are turning
and the winds have caused
many of them
to fall.

so if you'd like
you can come with me
for an early morning walk in the woods
after an evening's rain.


come past the guardian trees.
rub your open palms against their trunks as you pass.
you'll feel a cool wetness
and the slight fuzziness of moss
before you sense the ridged roughness of their bark.

let's follow this little path . . .

before it dwindles into this slightly overgrown trail . . .

and opens out into the place where the big trees grow.

look way up at the brave little orange and red semaphors . . .

look down at their still beautiful brothers and sisters . . .

and before you leave the woods,
you'll see
a single red leaf
at eye-level.
in slender wooden fingers.

what does it say?

it tells the story
of a day early in spring
when the snow was still on the ground
tucked into little eaves
and gulleys.
a day when the sun
rose high enough to warm the tree
which felt the message -
a warm, loving message -
make buds . . .

and this bud unfurled over the next few weeks
into a beautifully formed
life-giving leaf
that only a few days ago
felt the chill winds
of autumn's
insistent tugging
more keenly
than before
and let go.

its journey
to the forest floor
was halted
by these tiny wooden fingers
that in an improbable act
of synchronicity
were reaching out at the precise moment
and in the precise space
that the leaf was passing through
as it drifted earthwards.

and so
they remain . . .
containing that one
improbable moment
in this beautiful
woodland embrace.


Linda said...

Thank you for this wonderful journey into a breathtakingly beautiful world, Steven. I really enjoy the woods the most nearing the end of October when a few hearty leaves cling to the branches but most have fallen. The woods become crunchy and damp underfoot and you can see deep, deep into the forest. It's my favorite time of year. Usually we are blessed with a warm day or two to enjoy it. I loved your post.

Delwyn said...

Hi Steevn

although chilly that walk was gorgeous...

and I love the way that your imagination weaves a wondrous story around the autumn cast...

Happy Autumn days

Alaine said...

We're all going walking! That was lovely walking in the woods with the colour everywhere. I have to say that Autumn is my favourite season; a calming time after the stress of the Summer months.

Susie Hemingway said...

I walked across your blog today and how enchanting I found it to be. I followed intently your walk through the forest, savoured simply everything that was displayed there - such beautiful photos - I could breathe the forest, the woody damp smell, the crispness of leaves, see the colours, and sing praises about this special place. Your blog is delightful. I shall return again, if I may.

steven said...

hi linda - i'm with you actually and as the woods give up more of their leaves, i'll be sharing more walks. the pictures through bare leaved trees - when as you say, you can "see deep, deep into the forest" are among my favourites!! have a lovely sunday. steven

steven said...

hello delwyn - thankyou for your kind comment!!! when i saw this leaf, my mind raced and i heard the story even as i tried to take the picture. so i wrote it down as quickly as i could. i love when the words are all there in the moment. have a lovely evening by the river. steven

steven said...

hi alaine - it's still early for colour here in peterborough. the trees are at 40% in terms of turning colour, so i'll be visiting the woods over the next couple of weeks to watch the change and share it here. have a lovely evening. steven

steven said...

hello susie and welcome!!! i'm so glad you could come along on the walk with us!!! it was as you described - cool, wet, a little crunchy underfoot and the colours are just beginning to really show in the leaves. the squirrels were running all over the place gathering food and starting to set up their nests high up in the trees. i'd love for you to visit again. have a peaceful day. steven

Pauline said...

Hal Borland lived not far from here. That quote is one I don't recognize - which of his books is it from?

The story of the leaf was delightful - a children's picture book in the making.

Bee said...

Isn't it marvellous that you caught that moment of synchronicity? You make the woods seem so alive.

I've been taking pictures of trees all week long, too. Who couldn't respond to the beauty of falling autumn leaves?

Reya Mellicker said...

What a lovely walk, thank you so much! The leaves here have only begun to change and are not yet ready to fall.

Love the suspended leaf, as if time had stopped. Wow.

Golden West said...

Thanks for taking me along through the woods!

Barry said...

I enjoyed the walk steven, even more because the weather prevented Linda and I from many of the walks through the forest in Huntsville where we were recently vacationing. The leaves up there had fully turned, but the rains were heavy and cold.

Made our vicarious walk with you even more enjoyable.

Crafty Green Poet said...

lovely photos, early autumn is such a magical time...

willow said...

I certainly felt at one with this post, Steven. Trees and autumn...two of my favorite things. I always feel compelled to touch the bark of trees as I pass. This last photo is just marvelous! (((sigh)))

The Weaver of Grass said...

A perfect little autumn vignette steven - I so enjoyed the walk - invite me along again sometime soon.

Dan Gurney said...

Enchanting post. I, too, loved the way you expanded the moment of the leaf caught in wooden fingers. Your walk-post reminds me of walks I've taken in Noosa with Delwyn.

Kay said...

Thanks for taking me on your walk...just beautiful....most of the trees are here are just beginning to about 10 days its going to be fab!! Then you can walk with me!!

Friko said...

i enjoyed that wonderful walk into a magic world very much.
Thank you Steven.

NanU said...

hello steven,
the fall is such a wonderful time, and you've captured it perfectly in these words and these pictures. So peaceful and calm, the world revolving slowly back into the sleeping time before it starts anew.

Nabeel said...

the second picture makes me wonder where that path leads to. Oh and the soil and flowers smell their best before and after rain :)

ellen abbott said...

Oh, wow, steven. That last picture is amazing.

steven said...

hi ellen,
i'm so glad that you are as amazed as i was when i saw it. thanks for your thoughtful comment. steven