Autumn Games

A bleak November day
moody and dark
like a black and white horror film.

No birdsong,
no sparkling sunlight.
The landscape drained
of all but the drabbest color.

Everything we see and sense
tells us outside is cold and damp
and the wind has teeth.

A good day to stay
in the cozy, yellow glow
of a warm kitchen
filled with the steaming scent
of apples and cinnamon.

But Nature is in a playful mood.
She teases us with May like warmth.

“Come my children,
come romp with me one more time
before Father Winter comes
to tuck you in
for a long nights sleep.”

And the family of crows
who live in our woods
answers with a raucous game of
catch-me-if-you-can.

“Here, here.
Here I am.
Ha ha. Ha ha.
Here I am.”

High above,
a ring-around-the-rosey circle
of turkey vultures
spirals silently upward.

While below,
the brown, papery leaves
mirror them
as they drift gently to the ground
in the endgame “all fall dawn”.

On the porch,
the wind chimes reprise
their soft, summer chorus
accompanied by the staccato drumming
of the acorns
as they strike the earth
in their great, synchronized
drop from the heights.

The barren limbs of the great oaks
play tag with the tall pines,
as they lean together and then away again,
whispering “You’re it”.

And the silver-white disk of the sun
never tires of peek-a-boo
in the pearly grey sky.

My husband and I stop now and then
as we do our grown-up chores,
preparing for the harsh season to come.

We pause to enjoy this brief reprieve
before the serious business of survival
overtakes the rest of creation
and the pure joy of existence
is muffled by the deep snows.

And in the distance,
I swear I can hear
the fading sounds
of laughing children.

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