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For the fourth day in a row I sit beneath a small maple tree at the local park. Its gold, yellow and orange leaves create a canopy of color, an exultation of life, a last great “Yes” to the life of autumn. The air is filled with a golden vibrancy that warms the fresh cut grass and sweetens the air with a green perfume. The park is glorious today.

After an unseasonably warm fall, the first rain since last April fell two weeks ago and the temperatures finally started to drop. As the nights cooled, the trees turned inward and began the yearly journey back to the core. The mighty oaks which just last week were full of green leaves are now coyly dropping one after the other, showing a bare limb here and a dark branch there. Soon they will stand exposed, tall, proud and darkly powerful.

I sit near a crossroad; the dog park and tennis courts before me, park trails all around. People pass and rarely notice as I remain as motionless as the trees and silent as the clouds that are circled by Canadian geese who call out cadence to the beat of their wings as they slice across the southern sky.

At the dog park, owners sit and smoke cigarettes around the picnic tables as five large dogs chase each other within the fenced field. They gallop in wide swinging circles like young ponies. The leader feints right, then left, with the others close behind.

A new dog enters the enclosure and they all set off at a run to investigate this visitor, eagerly sniffing mouth and tail to ascertain what has been enjoyed. The dogs bark and snarl and woof, tails wagging, hips swinging in happiness while their masters idly chat.

In a nearby field a small dark dachshund is let off the leash, speeds across the ground like a bullet and chases a laughing girl whose long blond hair flies behind her. In the foreground, a slender black woman carrying a large plastic bag filled with empty cans slowly walks with a jerky military precision down a dirt path. Each time her right leg lifts and descends I hear a clicking of metal, a ratcheting of gears.

As she marches into her horizon, I shift into dreamtime where long forgotten memories are released, unnoticed desire flow forth and unhealed wounds lie exposed for warm tongues to lick. I sense the need to acknowledge these internal energies for the solstice is soon to come. This dark night of the shortest day is the time of seed planting and conceptions. It is the time to prepare for virgin births.

The noon sun cuts through my reveries with a hot intensity. The lens of the coming afternoon has sharpened its focus and my legs burn in its rays. I slowly fold up my lawn chair and look one last time at this apex of autumn. From now on, each day will be a little shorter, a little dimmer; the trees a little more bare and dark. Soon all will feel the cool lavender touch of winter.

What seeds shall I plant in the soil of my soul tonight? What door shall I open and what guest admit? What shall I bring forth in the year to come? And what is it that waits in your heart to be born?

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