Vista in Autumn


What is it about big birds?

Is it the same impulse that made two hikers say to us, "How much further to the top? Is it worth it? Is the view beautiful?"

We four were bathed in the glowing yellow light cast from an autumn sun through layers of chestnut oak and black birch leaves, cast again through maple leaf viburnum leaves.

Spicebush fruits, radiant fiery pills. Hulls of hickory nuts upon the ground, carved beads burst from a forgotten necklace.

Straight columns of black oak stand, caryatids protecting their brethren, the American chestnut. The oaks await the return of the chestnut when he too can stand with them again.

Silken witch hazel sepals entrance busy autumn bees. Linden buds, precious rubies. Moss, emerald carpet.

We are bathing in gold. We sing for this moment to return. We sing for winter's sapphire chill. For spring's peridot, warming to summer's muslin, cotton, and silk.

We four part and become two and two again. Our steps quicken in both directions. Up to the sweeping vista, and down through the loosening spell of an autumn afternoon.

What is it about big birds and vistas? They command us - away from thoughts of obligations and desires. They "take our breath away" - not even the sound of breathing will do in this sacred place.

Should we follow the big birds they lead us to the cricket hanging on a blade of grass, to dull seeds cached along narrow trails of field mice.

Should we not follow the big birds we wait past our lifetime to see the tiny seeds become the forest of caryatids.

The vista is only a mirror.