I find myself standing beneath a grove of Birch trees, there are a few yellow leaves that still hang on but most of them have floated to the ground long ago.
As I stand there staring up through the naked branches I close my eyes and feel the cold air swirl around me and tug at my collar.
The sun is low on the horizon and the golden tone of fall at sundown has turned to a grayish haze.
I shrug my shoulders against the chill and stuff my hands deep inside of my jeans pockets.
I don’t want to move, my feet shuffle in the remnants of fallen leaves and kick against the frost, I want to stay and feel the end of fall, I want to say goodbye.
I want to stay in this ambiguous place between the changing part of fall and the onset of winter, where the air still smells of rotting foliage and wet earth. Where the sky hasn’t cleared and the intense quiet of the woods buried and muffled by snow has yet to be.
If I accept winter and welcome the Old Man, then I have given up, I have conceded to the end, and in turn accepted the beginning of the cold, of the brutal future, long, dark and lonesome.
The sun hides from it too, only to re-emerge later on to fight winter’s bitter gales; unfruitful it will fight in spite of itself for months, so why don’t I?
Because I am afraid of what may come, I am fearful that my future holds pain, disappointment, all must come to an end I know that to be true, but why must it hurt so much.
I close my eyes and as I stand there searching for direction I feel the first few snowflakes land on my cheeks and melt away.
The trees around me announce that the wind has changed direction, it now comes at me from the front, and it feels like an icy sheet being pulled over my face.
There is no turning back; there is no room for doubt now, no space for regret.
I lower my head, and tip my brow against the wind and open my eyes, as the flakes grow in size and number.
I step forward, I will not fight against it but instead choose to accept and fight with it, as the days grow short and the sun stays low above the horizon I will forge on, in all there is beauty, and as the grayish haze turns to stark whiteness I decide today is a new day, and today I will celebrate that.