The woods are wild in the late German summer. Grass inches toward the road, creeps over the pavement, reaching for the concrete. Trees grow into each other from opposites sides of the road. Shades of green are everywhere. Deep, dark fir, jade vines, brighter chartreuse on bushes, celery-colored leaves.

It looks overrun, like the gardener took a vacation and didn’t have anyone to cut back the growth while he was away. It looks like the forests could spring out the gobble up roads and cities, but it happens fast, the turning from abundant, unfettered growth to the bare branches of winter.  All it will take are these last few weeks of fall, and these green leaves will turn yellow, orange, red, brown.

The forests will be contained again, leaves will not fight each other for the sun and the light will shine through the naked, wooden gaps.

No one guts its growth. The cold that changes a leaf’s color will send it to the ground, buried with its millions of brothers and sisters. The carpet of leaves will turn into the next layer of soil. Branches will shrink back from the road.

The changing season prunes the forest.

What fall begins, winter will end, and somehow this picture of limited life in a limited universe comforts me. Nothing lasts forever. Not us. Not the trees in the forest.

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