The leaves are just beginning to turn and descend. I pick up a particular shade of golden and hold it up to the September light. The road between the cemetery and my grandparents’ house is a passageway to autumn. I notice another leaf, a veined maple, and add it to the first in my hand. Suddenly, I am noticing yellows all around. Wildflowers I don’t know the names of. A cluster of winged seed pods. Even a dandelion. I gather them to my notice, where they are turned from wayside weeds into jewels of wonder. My palm is cupped with gold, a fleeting treasure but for the store it feeds in my mind’s eye.
This is the second bouquet I’ve picked this morning. The first was harvested from the edges of the cemetery to lay at my Grandad’s resting place. Purple asters, fern, soft pine, spicy cedar, and one brilliant scarlet maple leaf. It is not only the end of summer, but of a season of summers, 45 years of his life built along the edge of the Trent Canal. A little harvest of beauty. This is what I lay on the hallowed ground in thanks and praise.
Now on the walk home I am graced with these shades of a summer well lived. Seasons shift. Flowers fade. And yet there is always glory to gather, even in the ditches. We give what love we have, and find it reflected in the leaves at our feet. Beauty yet shines through tears and change, and grace perfumes the air of our journey. And I catch the glint of it all, like a twinkle in my Grandad’s eye.