we wear autumn


This year, we wear autumn.
The temperature shifts;
we shiver, our rough bark exposed. Hanging
on our fragile frames,
the season wraps itself around
our weary shoulders. Thinning
fabrics no longer cover. Bundled
beneath layers we huddle
hidden in the valley
of the shadow.

Time narrows.
Delicate clock hands still
encircle each day twice
but daylight shrinks
and slinks away.
Cracked windows slide
closed to prevent drafts
from whistling through.
We hunker down.

there is room only
for what matters now
and what matters most.

Like leaves, 
we anticipate the fall
beyond which
we cannot see.
We linger at the peak
and sway together.
Nature’s jewels
grasp hands, resist
as best they can,
fade and wither,
drained of fleeting presence.


An amber ache echoes
in our empty spaces,
the stripped-bare places.
Shapeless words shed meaning,
drift out of reach.
Hours escape ungathered
by the insufficient span
of our outstretched arms.

A chorus forms
from chaos. Displaced accents
both confuse and soothe
with predictable
unpredictability. Geese glide
squawking in overhead flight.
Back porch wind chimes strike
chords in incidental
syncopation. Suspended

notes haunt
and float.

Moments slip:
I cannot catch and hold them.
The warm honey of evening sunbeams slides
through cracks in clenched fingers.
Frost sharpens the air, revealing
the shape of our breath exhaled.
Winter tiptoes nearer.

This year, we say goodbye. 

IMG_20171106_145748812In the parting,
we lose parts of ourselves.
The silent shift uproots us
but traces remain etched in fractal patterns
engraved on paper-thin hearts.

Stillness fills the air
with conspicuous absence.
Woodsmoke saturates
shampooed hair, weaves
itself into fibers
of wool sweaters.
The permeating musk
of this waning season marks us:
spritzed on the backs of wrists,
the thin skin behind both ears.
We breathe in its scent,
embracing others
left behind.

The changing landscape settles
by degrees, lingering
in defiant lament.
Unexpected winds gust,
stir settled clumps, free others
to fly wild.
Shafts of light unmask
true colors.
Cold fronts shake loose
our facade, strip away
our fullness, surprise
and sting with bitter chill.
Some leaves never fall.

This year, we lost you.IMG_20171124_155829680

In stages, and then all at once.
Is autumn’s end ever
not sudden?

Its mournful bellow drowns out
resurrection’s refrain.
Even Jesus wept in autumn.
Our tears till the soil.
Though now it lies fallow,
we await the promised
unearthing of buried song,
the coming spring.

As our shared season ends,
I will carry your name forward
into all the ones to come.


3 thoughts on “we wear autumn

  1. Oh Cara. You nailed it! It has been an autumn year. Perfect read at your Grammy’s celebration. The passion and talent you have for writing is a true blessing and you use it well. I am waiting for a publishing announcement.
    Your Grammy was a lovely lady. Even though you had her for so long, it is difficult. My sympathies, Pat Ertel


  2. This is beautiful, Cara! I am so sorry for your loss. It’s amazing how such beauty can come out of such sorrow. It reminds me of Isaiah 61:1-3, my favorite scripture. He bestows on us a crown of beauty instead of ashes. What a precious Abba, Father, we have.
    The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
    He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
    to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
    to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
    to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
    the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
    and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
    They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.
    Thanks for inspiring me, Cara!


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