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.
Bundled up in winter’s warmest layers, I embarked on my journey. The days that lay behind me had been wicked; consumed by an icy arctic blast shredding my skin, refusing to subside. The sun had abandoned the sky, weighted so that it may never rise; the world plunged into a darkness it hid behind. Yet on this day, something had changed. Transformed was the world as the day started bright, the sun forcing its way above the clouds. As I stood and marvelled, a soft breeze kissed my skin; my winter’s mask dissolving under its softest touch.
In the bright light of the high midday sun, his shadow stretched out beside him; blackest black against the tarmac on which he played. His 90 degree self, moving just like him, though obscured and elongated. His shadow aged him beyond his years; his back now slightly stooped, arthritis sitting in his knees, a dragging of the left foot from an old and weary hip. His right arm now permanently raised to guard against a fall. His shadow a black hole, a split in the fabric of time, a dark glimpse into his future self.
The rain fell from a clear sky, an impossible feat only summer could achieve. The grass became fragranced, the dew glistening upon every blade. She kicked off her shoes and scrunched her bare toes in the damp earth, inhaling the sweet scent of fresh rain. A breeze stirred and tickled at her skin, the hairs on her arms raising from its soft caress. The air had cooled and she finally felt able to move. The day had suffocated her, imprisoned her until all she yearned was freedom. She began to walk, no destination in mind, the gentle breeze her guide.
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.