The great migration of the leaves has begun now, as they make their way steadily from their summer homes in the trees, to their deathbed on the forest floor. If the wind takes them, they tumble in droves in a lilting spiral dance. When the forest is still, the leaves come down singly, bumping branches and leaf neighbors on their journey. But whichever way they come, down is the inevitable direction.
When the wind is fierce, whole tree limbs—sometimes even trees themselves— crash to the forest floor and explode into shards of worm-bored decay. Twigs are always making their way to the forest floor, but I seldom see them on their downward travels. They are not as showy as the leaves, nor as noisy as the trees and branches.
Now and again in my forest wanderings, I’ll stumble upon the ripe, melting body of a bird, a turtle, a deer, or squirrel. In summer, my nose finds them first. In autumn, they blend with the color of the fallen leaves, all amber, gray, gold, brown, and scarlet.
Each autumn, I marvel again at the seasonal spectacle of the forest receiving and celebrating her dead, her offal, her decay. The concept of trash, of garbage, finds no place here. Such things are man-made. Here on the forest floor, everything is welcome with open arms, with instant activity, and with purifying purpose… Read the rest of this entry »