Friday, 21 October 2011

Fall Leaves

We all notice when there’s a gorgeous blazing sunset, but every day Earth is like an outdoor gallery full of  installation art pieces.
Stepping out of the car this week, I noticed a brilliant rose-coloured leaf in a small pile that the wind had blown into a corner of my driveway’s retaining wall. Even though it was a cold, rainy day, I had to pause for a closer look.

There, set against the charcoal-grey asphalt background was a freeform sculpture. Two red-pink pointed ovals from a neighbour’s bush lay among buttercup-yellow heart shapes and curled rusty maple leaves. The intensity of rose and yellow contrasted deliciously with the darker shades of maple.
My eyes widened as they focussed on a surprise in the background. The biggest leaf, about three inches long and surf-board-shaped, was a luscious brown; it looked like leather, flat and smooth without a hint of withering. I stood up and looked around to see what tree held such leaves. No use. They must have flown some distance, a wild ride on the gusty day.
Some small ginko leaves added to the beauty, their summer green now fading to ecru. Ginko leaves are shaped like perfect fans, complete with stem handles.

The Artist who composed this installation is so prolific and wealthy that I’m sure She won’t mind; I scooped up two hand-fulls of the leaf sculpture, carried as much of it inside as I could, and re-installed it haphazardly on my kitchen window sill.

Sunny yellow, burnt orange, chocolate brown and brilliant rose; are these the colours of death?

I’ve two funerals to attend this week. 
Both are for men who were not elderly and who, before cancer appeared, filled their lives with adventures, with laughter and with family love. One was an engineer and stand-up comic, the other an accountant who dressed as a clown for the Santa Claus parade. It hurts to imagine the pain left for one man’s 12 year old daughter and the other’s five little grandchildren... his aging mother… his widow.

Surely the Creator who designed joyful colours to be revealed in Fall’s dying leaves meant them as a metaphor. Even in the face of death there is hope. The clues are everywhere that death is not the end. This is, however, a truth easy in the saying; in practice, bitterly hard can be the wait for spring.