The air was colder today, more chilled than in recent weeks, with wind whipping through the streets seeping through jackets and jeans with the sharpness of a spear. It bit and clawed and punched at every opportunity, declaring the power of autumn in triumphant glory. Meanwhile the green of the leaves has surrendered to sunset colours of yellow, orange, red and even gold. Thanks to the force of the gales they’re being forced from the trees and decaying on the roads and pathways becoming brown crunchy husks of their former selves. As well as providing the most satisfying sound when stepped upon or rustled through, there is another beautiful aspect to their gathering on the ground.
Leaves are scared in the wind. As a child I genuinely believed the reason leaves shook when gales or breezes blew was because they were afraid the wind would steal them from their home. In my eyes the wind was a tale whispered to budding flowers and newly sprung leaves. They were warned by the branches of the wind’s cruel majesty, a lonely lord who swept through unseen and stole aged plants away, like death. Now, I know I was wrong. Maybe the leaves don’t tremble with fear, but excitement, because the wind isn’t a fierce ravage of trees, but a gentle bringer of change. And once she pulls the petals and browned foliage from the trees, they can finally dance among her skirts.
Waiting for my bus this morning I watched them perform, swirling freely through the air, twisting together into spiraling waltzes whenever the cold gales pushed through. Happy, tiny hurricanes flurried through the air. It’s a wonderful feeling to catch the right spot at the perfect moment and have colourful leaves dance around you, clattering pleasantly as they scuttle back across the floor once the breeze dies down again. As they twirl and frolic it’s almost like their laughing, like they can hear music playing, soft orchestral playful tunes filled with raising and falling notes. Somehow, though soon they will become dust and skeletal veins, they seem happy, like being tied to a tree was as a cage to a bird, and being whipped away by the wind has given them the freedom to fly.