Year after year I find myself saddened by a loss (or multiple losses) during the season of autumn. I’ve mourned deaths in other seasons, but so many of these deaths occurred in the fall that I started to reflect upon the season and its relation to death. Of course, like the warm colors of autumn leaves and bounty of the fall harvest, there’s a beauty in this season and in death. Oftentimes one’s passing inspires an occasion to honor the life of that person in a meaningful way.
My grandfather passed away two years ago this season. During the weeks surrounding his death, I felt uplifted in stories and images from his life. His death inspired me to create a picture collage for his memorial. It also inspired reflection that led to the poem below.
Perhaps this poem will inspire a new outlook during this season of loss and promise.
Warm colors cover summer’s glow
As trees’ farthest extensions descend
Below tired feet, above pavement streets
They commune with the perished and perishing
A season of its own or
A punctuation to mark finality?
Oh mournful autumn!
Golden collages atop outstretched arms
And ruby gems drop from branches
Forest greens turn supremely tangerine
Each fiery tree top dances
When swift winds release leaf from life
Colors deplete to the brown of earthen soil
Where a nest, for seedlings whose roots extend,
Houses both beginning and end
Not one escapes the barrenness
Seen in winter’s predecessor
And how the trees do mourn with me
When losing life’s small splendors
Yet there is abounding joy
To harvest in this season
And there is hope in seeds of life to be