Bagging Gold

All afternoon his tractor pulls a flat wagon
with bales to the barn, then back to the waiting
chopped field. It trails a feather of smoke.
Down the block we bend with the season:
shoes to polish for a big game,
storm windows to batten or patch.
And how like a field is the whole sky now
that the maples have shed their leaves, too.
It makes us believers—stationed in groups,
leaning on rakes, looking into space. We rub blisters
over billows of leaf smoke. Or stand alone,
bagging gold for the cold days to come.

~David Baker “Neighbors in October”

There is a desperation to these October days:
the leaves torn from branches by unrelenting gusts
with no thought to where they may land~
upon which patch of grass or gravel will be their final resting place
to wilt and wither in the rain,
under frost,
buried by eventual peaceful snowbanks
until they return to dust.

Or in my need to hold on to what I can
of what was,
I preserve a few like precious treasure,
tucked between book pages
to remain forever neighbors
with the words they embrace.

A book with beautiful words and photography (but no leaves tucked inside) is available to order here:

4 thoughts on “Bagging Gold

  1. Our house had three beautiful sugar maple’s on the front yard. Every fall, they had the most beautiful red, orange and yellow leaves. People would stop by to tell how pretty they were. Sadly, a hurricane felled them all. This post reminds me of how much I miss them still.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your personal comment, dear Emily, is telling — relevant and so true. It is what we need
    preserve and pass on to our children and on to succeeding generations. It will become the solace and guidance that they will need as they travel on their Journey, particularly in uncertain, challenging times. The memories of shared meals, conversations, pictures in black/white and even earlier sepia tones attest that those who came before often faced the same problems (and serious moral upheavals) that the new generations will face — and, hopefully, with faith and trust that has been handed down, will see them through as they did for our fore-bearers.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “It seems a shame, stuffing bright maple
    leaves in dark plastic bags, shutting out
    the light they once employed so well.
    Wouldn’t it be better to burn them in small piles collected in the gutter?
    Aromatic and a great treat for young boys
    riding bikes through circus hoops of smoke and fire.”

    Liked by 2 people

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