These days of the falling
I look to the gutters where
gold gathers along with
burnished red going to rust,
delicate saffron fans
having fluttered their last,
garnet maple leaves
the size of my hand
scattered belly up—
not quite dead but dying,
yet I see no gasping
or clinging, no resistance.
There is repose in
the glitter of the fallen,
a kind of peace there
with their brethren,
an acceptance of a
an absolution, this
release from obligation.
You are forgiven,
the ginkgos say.
You can let go now.
Does this mean…Iâm gonna DIE?
Thank you Jan for this blanket of Ginkgos and words of comfort in the midst of change. Lovely. And yes, Dick Tracy, I do believe you very well might die, but maybe not today or tomorrow, so don’t sell the farm just yet.
Your lovely poem reminds me of the closing lines of Matthew Arnold’s “Stanzas From the Grand Chartreuse”, which always come to mind when I see autumn leaves covering the ground:
Not as their friend, or child, I speak!
But as, on some far northern strand,
Thinking of his own Gods, a Greek
In pity and mournful awe might stand
Before some fallen Runic stone —
For both were faiths, and both are gone.
Wandering between two worlds, one dead,
The other powerless to be born,
With nowhere yet to rest my head,
Like these, on earth I wait forlorn.
Their faith, my tears, the world deride —
I come to shed them at their side.
Although the poet speaks of loss of faith, the melancholy that sometimes comes with this time of year makes it all the more poignant here at our farm in southeastern Washington.
A few observations about amazing, nearly magical ginkgo trees: they are the ancient predecessors of pine trees, and if you examine their leaves closely, you will see that they consist of fused pine-like needles. While today’s Ginkgo biloba are native to Asia, a similar relative, Ginkgo adiantoides, grew in America during Jurassic times. In fact, at Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park along the Columbia River in Vantage, Washington, many beautifully fossilized examples, including the familiar fan-shaped leaves, may be found where they were smothered and preserved in deep layers of volcanic ash.