The oak tree had lost its imposing authority as its branches were stripped bare. Autumn had shed it of its leaves, a skeleton shivering as it lay exposed. It had fought hard, clinging onto the last, but it could not beat the encroaching inevitability of autumn’s wicked ways. Now the frailty of its being was made apparent to the world, the branches quivering as the wind that only autumn knows wrapped its tendrils around each and every one. They creaked and moaned as they screamed in an unheard agony carried away on the wind.
The old man strode with purpose, whistling as he went on his way. His rubber wellied feet kicked up the leafy carpet, his arms balancing a rake over his shoulder. The rake suited him well; the metal rusting and old like him, the spokes bent out of shape from a lifetime of labour. He began to rake up the fallen leaves, the old whistling tune mingling with the delicate notes of the leaves as they cut through the air. He worked tirelessly, amassing piles standing proud like monuments amidst the trees. All the while he whistled that old whistle tune.
The weeping was silent, barely a whispered hush as I stood below them. They flanked me on both sides, tall and strong and immovable. Yet as strong as they stood, they wept. First they blushed, crimson and gold blooming from the tendrils they reached skywards. Then as if weighted, as if their colours betrayed them, now standing ashamed as they burned in the low light of the searing sun, the tears of flames fell. They glided, their movement as soft as a lullaby and came to rest on the cold concrete underfoot, a carpet below.