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Embarrassment of Riches

It’s autumn and this year where I live we’ve had an explosion of color, practically overnight. One day everything was still lush green and the next, boom! a paintbox of colors popped open. I have been taking photos like a crazy person.

But I’ve also been loving so many quiet, humble bits of nature nearly everywhere I go and not always on the brilliant blue sky days, either. Just look at those clouds. Just look at the variety of greens as they fade into something else. Look at the red vines crawling up the trunk of a tree that’s still quite green. Look at the few little leaves that have turned yellow on an otherwise green shrub.

It’s not just the big trees and shrubs and the brilliant blue sky that enchant the eye, either. Nuts and shiny dry brown leaves have a sculptural quality that is quite beautiful. The weeds and vines, in their softer, muted shades are quite lovely, too. I feel like if I turn my head in any direction these days, including down to the ground, I’ll see something marvelous.

It’s a true embarrassment of riches.

It’s a time of year that reminds us to get outdoors every single day, rain or shine, so we don’t miss a single turn or variation in the colors of our amazing world; a time that teaches us, so clearly, of the ephemeral nature of nature and of our own lives; a time when we can see both the gorgeous and the sublime right next to that which is humble and quiet. We learn as we go and the more we go outside, I feel, the more we learn.

“What you see with your eyes is transient and ephemeral. What you see through your heart is everlasting and eternal.”― Debasish Mridha

“We humans may think of ourselves as solid objects, all flesh and bone. But take a close look, and it’s clear our bodies are composed largely of oxygen and hydrogen. We are essentially ephemeral – akin as much to wind, water, and fire as to earth.” Curt Stager, Your Atomic Self

“It is the ephemeral nature of things that makes them wonderful.” ― Yoshida Kenkō, A Cup of Sake Beneath the Cherry Trees

If you’re looking for my cards or art, you’ll find all of that on my website. If you enjoy these letters, feel free to forward this one to anyone you think might like it. And if someone forwarded this one to you, you can sign up here to receive the letters right in your Inbox. Finally, you’ll find past letters and poems here.

Thanks for listening,

P.S. MerryThoughts is the name of my first book, out of print at the moment. The word is a British one, referring both to a wishbone and to the ritual of breaking the wishbone with the intention of either having a wish granted or being the one who marries first, thus the “merry thoughts.”

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Walnut Leaves

Still waiting for all the beauty to stop but no

the yellow walnut leaves continue their twirl and dance

past my window, sun insists on cascading down

and this generous sky paints its signature shade of blue

behind the many tall trees waving their graceful arms

(at me?  I think so, yes) gaily swinging their vines

to and fro and what am I supposed to do,

thus entranced, how do I wrench myself away

from this humble little window sitting here

quietly minding its own business relentlessly

displaying these magnificent small wonders

on and on and on, no end in sight?

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Go & Do

Windows shuttered against the cold one hears

so little at least at this late morning hour

when the birds have finished their early morning

chorus and all others have gone about their

quotidian business of work and school, etc.,

while I sit up amongst the walnut leaves

reluctant to go and do, knowing that

going and doing will be rewarding,

knowing that every piece of this chilly

bright autumn day could be terribly rewarding

oh so knowing it and feeling it and already

convinced beyond one little straw of that

and so, go and do I shall.

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Jolly Moon

The Harvest Moon, the full moon that closely follows the autumnal equinox,

rises just thirty minutes after sunset for several days in a row

shining brightly enough upon the earth for farmers to harvest their crops

by its light (hence the name), keeps the world lit up through the evening

for those special nights, lovely enough for the evening strollers,

spooners and skygazers yes but perhaps not for a tired farmer who

might just as soon have a very good excuse to go into the small house,

eat a hearty supper, read a book by lamplight, and go trundling

off to bed in the cool autumnal dark of late September.

Every lovely thing has its range of consequences, as we all know,

even a big round jolly moon peeking over the horizon early.

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Aging Divas

Redbud trees are hung with the

blackened seed pods that never

did right this year in the crazy

spring heat that crisped them up.

Now here they hang ugly as sin

refusing to just let go.

Like old divas hanging on

well past their prime

beyond their usefulness

refusing to budge though

their point has become moot.