My wife and I have always loved the line from wonderful spoof play, Spamalot, “I’m not dead yet!” Many see Fall as the end of the lives we greeted in the Spring. One can certainly see these immense annual changes in that way, but clearly it is not true. Rather Fall is about recycling life, taking Summer’s gathered energy and tucking it away for next year, either as seeds, leaf “duff,” underground roots, fat tissue or any of the other amazing ways life has evolved to deal with the fundamental issue of less solar energy over the Winter months.
When I look closely at the falling leaves, it is clear many are simply worn out! They’ve not only fed the roots of the plant or tree but also numerous other living creatures—insects, birds, animals, and microorganisms. That continues in the next phase of their lives too.
As I was planting in the garden this week I moved piles of leaves that had slowly decomposed since last fall. They not only teemed with life—worms, insects and millions of creatures I could not even see, much less identify—but they had also been transformed into rich soil that will next year become the garlic I so love.
So perhaps “transformation” is a more accurate term to use than “death” for what is happening all around us over these weeks of Fall. And in those changes I find tremendous beauty—the leaf mold in my garden and such glorious sights as these Hosta leaves.