THIS I BELIEVE
LOVELY, INSPIRING AUTUMN
I believe that autumn is the loveliest and most inspiring of seasons. I’m fortunate
to live in a woodland setting filled with hundreds of red, black and white oaks, but with
some beech trees that, on a sunny November afternoon, put on a dazzling display of yellows
and oranges. I don’t have to travel up to New England to see magnificent foliage; I just
have to look out my front window. My favorite beech tree was tall when I built my home
here almost 30 years ago; now it reaches into the sky; not as tall as the oaks, but majestic
all the same. Far above, the oak leaves—large and dark but reddened by sunlight—fall in the
breeze, into my hair, onto my clothing, and then to the ground.
Above the spotted gray trunks of my favorite beech are spreading branches filled
with thousands of shiny, pendant-shaped leaves, fluttering and falling in the soft winds of
a cloudless November day. I’m so lucky to witness this; I feel blessed. Joyce Kilmer
wrote: “A tree that looks at God all day, and lifts her leafy arms to pray.”* It’s
impossible not to feel spiritual and to give thanks.
The beech tree grows near my power lines—the electric and cable wires that run from
the house to the street. Sometimes I have to cut back the branches when they interfere with
what, for the tree, is not part of nature. But new branches grow, life continues; and so
does the display of beauty.
There is a dark green wrought iron café set–a table and two chairs—under my
favorite tree. A carved, smiley-face pumpkin sits at the center of the table. The ground
is covered with multi-colored leaves, the result of the November rain and winds. In
sunlight, the tableau is a cheerful sight. Whatever my mood—if it’s a good day or not—I
pass by my window or, better still, walk outside and stand under the beech, and I smile.
I know that soon I will have to go outside and rake the leaves that have fallen; I
will do it again in a few more weeks. The gutters must be cleared, and the paths and
driveway. All the leaves wind up in the woods from which they came. I don’t have to bag
them and have them carted away. I feel pleasure in knowing this: from nature they came; to
nature they return.
* “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer, 1914
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