In trees I walked at Smoky’s feet,
…And calm the forest floor.
‘Twas late October and the leaves
…All Autumn’s colors wore.
It rained a bit the night before,
…And though the earth was damp,
My shoes did not pick up the mud
…While on my silent tramp.
The fallen leaves well-paved my path;
…They made a yellow way
That Dorothy’d been proud to walk
…In Oz in her brief stay.
The leaf-laid carpet and that trail
…‘Twas all my eyes could see,
The forest closed out all the world
…And I was cloistered, free.
There was a great serenity
…With Nature as I walked.
I listened as my soft steps fell,
…And as the forest talked.
I passed a stream; it gurgled peace,
…Caught drops of last night’s rain –
A few that fin’lly fell – but why?
…(The reason not yet plain.)
I saw another mystery;
…It struck me as most odd.
A leaf, then two, came floating down
…As slow as turtles plod.
I saw then, out among the trees,
…One here, another there.
First glance, they seemed like butterflies
…With wings in disrepair.
They did not scurry, did not slant;
…Their vertical was straight,
As if they were a dropping stone –
…And yet they had no weight.
I took the line of their descent;
…Gazed upward where the trees
All disappeared from sight by height –
…And then I saw the breeze!
And then I knew why raindrops fell
…When there was no more mist,
And why the leaves were shaken loose
…But fell without a twist.
How isolated I felt then!
…The world was not about.
And now I knew that Nature, too,
…E’en Nature had shut out.
Like spiders coming down a strand,
…The leaves did downward crawl.
And watching their descent I knew
…Why men call Autumn, Fall.
The photo is mine and was taken in Smoky Mt. National Park.
© Dennis Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2016.