Welcoming the Fall (Poem)


Another August is ending.
One more summer is dying
Indifferent to what we planned to do
But again, didn’t.

Only death can make us feel the passing of time
More acutely than the changing of seasons.

In the fall, changing leaves teach us how to grow old.
In the winter, our loved ones help us ward off the cold.
In the spring, hope blooms again and the spirit expands.
In the summer, our hearts long for exotic, faraway lands.

There was some adventure in this summer,
And love, hope, growth, happiness;
But the eternal, perfect summer;
The glorious, golden, sun-splashed summer
That has always danced in the depths of my soul;
The collection of idealized images stored in my mind
Again eluded me.
Maybe it always will.

Where do we collect these fantasies?
From post cards? Novels? Movies?
Or perhaps from some perfect moment,
Some blessed nanosecond of pristine peace
Captured during the delicious, unfiltered innocence
Of childhood
Or during some vacation in the distant past;
Moments we were unable to extend
After we returned home
And changed in ways that living required.

And it dawns on me
That we see many things
The way we see the seasons.
So much never matches our fantasies
And so much is lost in their pursuit.

Maybe this longing has nothing to do with the summer or fall
But only the aching, insatiable emptiness that governs us all.

There is never enough.
Only hours after a meal, we are hungry again.
We find money on the ground
And after a moment of elation,
Start searching for more.
It is this way with everything.
It is a chore to stop for a moment
And appreciate what we have.
Nothing more than what we have.
Something we must remind ourselves to do.

So as the sun sets for the last time
Over this waning summer
And a cool breeze cuts through the warmth
As if to warn me of colder days ahead,
This time . . . this time,
I will close my eyes,
Breathe deeper than last year,
Savor the final remnants of sage
Blowing down from the hills
And think to myself,
“Yes . . . this was a good summer.
A good summer.”

Then I’ll peacefully let this spent summer die
And resolve to do later all that I hoped to try.
The seasons don’t mean us any harm, after all.
So with a joyous heart, I will welcome the fall.

Mark Rickerby
(c) 2005

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