Day after day, I watch the change through my window and wonder,
"Does she know what's happening to her? Does she know what's coming?"
The change is gradual, but stark. A patch of orange, high up, to the right. A spot of yellow in the middle.
Does she remember these same cool nights last year?
The ones that whispered, "...a change...a change is coming..."
Does she remember her brilliant reds and oranges and yellows?
Does she recall how the warmth and light, once consumed by her dark green canopy, began to fill her brightest, newly repainted leaves until they could hold no more, exhaling breaths of brilliant fire like little dragons?
Does she sense that this life-giving source of warmth and light is arriving a little later now each morning, and leaving a little earlier?
What does she make of the chill in the air and her longer stretches of slumber?
Is she tired from the hard work of growing, content now to release the grip on her leaves? Or is she anxious, grieving her loss and wondering what's next?
As each leaf departs, does she quietly thank it for its life-giving purpose? Or does she absorb the painful loss, sending her grief to her roots?
Does this all seem new to her, or is it strangely familiar?
Does she hear a message carried by the wind that caresses her increasingly bare limbs? The same wind that frees her leaves and gently carries them to the ground. A wind that speaks of her destiny, whispering its message of peace and hope,
"Rest, dear one. Settle into your peace and deep slumber.
You've been here before. You'll be here again.
A time to grow. A time to rest. A season for both."