I stand beneath the glowing Japanese Maple, pondering the growth of trees. The unconscious defiance of all those forces that conspire against it. Gravity be damned. Upwards. To the sun, to the light. Skyward. Move over cousins, that airspace is mine. Nothing will stop this ascension, this spreading, this push to expand, the endless mitosis that madly constructs these branching ladders, the frameworks for the delicate solar panels that burst forth from minute buds in the springtime and unfurl like butterfly wings, only to brown and to topple and die, leaving the naked scaffolding bereft of its adornment yet, remarkably, more beautiful in its dormancy, its oddly angular, branching forms. And I think about what it is that we lose, again and again, what about our species is deciduous, what leaves we bear and drop that feed us in our summers. Friendships and lovers and mates for the soul. Ideas and prayers and those shivering inspirations that might fuel our passions for an hour, a day, a year, only to darken and curl and blow away in the autumn wind, yet promising to return again, and again in the seasons of our wonder; and our withering. And could it be that in our nakedness, stripped of leaves and coverings that we might even be more beautiful revealed, alone as we were before and before?

o O o

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