Autumn Leaves

Down they come,
tossed by the shifting breezes
of cooling days and nights.
Dried up and withered, their energy spent,
they loose their grasp on their boughs
and tumble to earth.
They have done their first work,
welcoming the sunlight
and doing whatever leaves do
to bring health and growth
to their arboreal host.
Yet other tasks await them —
delighting children who plunge
into their raked-up piles;
bathing their neighborhood
with that nostalgic scent
as hungry fires consume them;
enriching the soil as they
molder into compost,
offering up their vanquished lives
that other verdure might spring to life.

So is it with us in the autumn of our day.
Our deeds of the past fade
and plummet into memory.
Yet those deeds have not died,
even as vigor may fade and fail.
Those works of our past
build up the fertile soil of the future
for loved ones, friends, and fellows
who still profit from
what we have accomplished.
And we, ourselves — if by reason of strength
and the blessing of the Lord
we endure for a season —
will yet be nourished and sustained
for further exploits by our
tumbling autumn leaves.