I take a deep breath of autumn that I loathe so much
The cold still air rakes at my cheeks and reddens the tip of my nose
The trees are orange and brown. Unmoving.
Sometimes a faint breeze slips through the branches
And knocks a dead leaf or two from its old perch.
I stop in my tracks to observe how one tumbles this way and that
Lurching toward the sparkling, frosty grass under my wet boots.
Sometimes it seems to pause, think about where it’s going and change directions
But it’s always making its way to the same place
It just changes its approach.
Death. That’s where we are all going.
My cracked lips start to smile, but I wince at the pain
Some blood rushes to the surface and I lick it away.
The leaf is closer to my head now.
My eyes rest as the sun is blocked out for half a second as it pauses again mid flight
It turns toward me and caresses my bright red nose
With its dry, brown edges
And finally falls to the ground where it will rest until it returns to the dirt
From dirt to mighty tree
However slow, however fast, it will once again become a leaf
Just to fall again and caress someone elses cheek
The world seems to be on fire.
I glance as the frozen grass shards under me
And back up to the tree tops over the lake.
My eyes begin to water from the cold and I smile again
This time letting my lip rip fully open
A red drop squeezes its way fully out of the slit and a tear begins to slip from my eye
I wipe my mouth and watch how the beautiful cherry red turns to dirt on my white sleeve
And the tear falls to the ground with a slight thud on the leaf I watched fall from the tree
Maybe there’s no way to choose which direction you approach death from
Trial and error perhaps
Or maybe we are simply blown by the wind.
Now, another leaf falls into the bubbling water below me
Perched upon the ripples it does not stay to linger
It creates a set of its own as it’s washed away by the current
Around the corner and out of sight forever.