We are with the rhythm of fall. This is the soft hymn of rain drowning the soppy leaves that were once dehydrated, but do not thirst anymore. This is the soft rhythm which is not always a downward spiral into the disappearance of vitamin D and midterms and embarrassing presidential campaigns. This is not only the slope we ski down but also the lift that we take up in the morning. This is your favorite leaf deciding it’s time to let go, time to disappear into the sloppy dust it came from– the secret time we save for nutmeg and extra crunchy apples and maybe some caramel and maybe some squash. This is our egos dripping with the pulp and grinding with the cinnamon seeds we churned when the air was warmer. When the air was warmer we didn’t know the trees and the sky and the ground only look good below 60 degrees and every time I play with the orange yellow and red it loses its footing. This fall is the smell of cider and the smile of your sister’s baby when she wakes up at 5 pm for dinner, this fall is the oscillation of sweet and savory, the candy we wanted as kids and the satisfaction we crave as adults. This fall believes that its beauty will die with the entrance of winter, when the snow comes to clear us all out. And this fall knows that in death there is always something leftover, something to find when the ice of the gray chill fades away slowly, something to look at under the dusk-milk that makes your shoes wet and dirty and stinky whenever you walk inside. This fall is the look in your grandfather’s eye when he tells you that he has been lost too, a while ago. When decay of nature is transposed with poise and beauty, what are we left to feel other than loss and whole? When we watch the big branches shed their skin and skinny up for winter as our bodies expand to form blankets for our brains and we pack any ounce of life we have left into the car with us, how can we know anything other than this is exactly where it is supposed to begin? This is exactly where the death happens so that we can live; this is exactly where the rotting birch on the side of the road peels away your forgotten scab; this is exactly where we forget that the trees will come back to us in some time; this is exactly the time of orange painting pink in the tree-sky crescendoes on our eyelids for that too-short moment; this is exactly where we remember fall is our family– and we have known our maple hearts would meet with a tilt.