Sunday, November 30, 2008


VISTAS OF A MORNING


This morning we had the co-op work event, so everyone who lives in this section - and a few who don't but have vacation homes here - went up to the gathering place on an upmountain forest road with a thick overhead canopy of trees and there set about our collective task, which was to clear the debris from one of the roadside culverts for the waterpipe soon to be laid along within it.

We all set about clearing the culvert and raking the leaves from the road, of the kind less traveled and so heavily leaf-strewn. I was using a big traditional Japanese bamboo rake and soon worked out a system, got into the rhythm of it-- down one side of the road for a while, then back up the other side, gathering the leaves in a long pile in the middle, thence to be scooped up and thrown into the roadside woods (I'm gonna go back and get some for my compost pile) and as I got into the hypnosis that attends all extended and worthy tasks, I reached a part of the road that, due to the shade of canopy, had wide beds of moss on both sides near the culverts: a rich, green, thick forest moss, growing on the dirt that tends to gather there in the light rain runoff, and soon I hit a patch of sunlight where the low wintering sun shone in from the open end.

When I began to rake those leaves away, the moss there, abruptly freed from that long beneath, all at once gleamed with a happy sunlit green that was almost startling, it glowed like a jewel brought suddenly from darkness into light, and across that emerald velvet were strewn bright golden ginkgo leaves, tiny ruby and topaz momiji leaves, amber beech leaves, imperial jade oak leaves edged with gold, leaves of every kind, color and size that grew around there, it was a galaxy of leaves strewn there across a vivid green sky lit by a sun of its own, it was like staring out among the stars at night, but here I was in the morning sunlight working, yet learning in a new way that the difference between night and day is purely local, as after all is the difference between leaves and stars, between moss and sky—

Locally, when the road was done, on the way home I walked with rake over shoulder past all the trees that still wore leaves along the roadside way-- the dayglow momiji, some die-hard oaks, bright orange wild persimmons here and there where leaves used to be, all wrapped in an eye-watering blue autumn sky with a few high clouds towering far off, from which was falling and blowing toward me on the brisk wind the barest vapor of a rain-- I’d felt it then looked for and saw it, whirling like diamond dust across the blue between, and then ahead of me on my way lay a glass-clear view of the sapphire slab of the Lake stretching out down below, and I thought to myself what a privilege to live such vistas in the morning...

3 comments:

Maggie said...

Stunning, thank you.

Bob Brady said...

Thanks, Maggie... the experiences themselves were stunning; just trying to pass it on...

joared said...

Such colorful visual images your words create in my mind -- so poetic. Thank you.