My sneakers kicked a path through the walnuts and conkers. My feet cut through brittle leaves and marrow-less sticks, stirring up dry, airy echoes, which snapped or crumbled into the broken black earth.
Before dusk, my family went for a slow walk through the woods. From time to time, I snuck in a little deeper. I went ahead or off to the side.
To my left, I saw bare trees stand like shadows of stainless steel. Each one pressed gently into a cool, heavy block of October sun, which hung low in the sky. The sunlight sliced through the trees, as slightly sweet shavings of Comté.
I saw a black squirrel, who sat on a sharp edge, stop and savor a thin piece.
The Scots pine needles were soggy. The pods of honeylocust were limp. And the mushrooms were rotting. Still, I heard the strength of water move forward in the stream beside me.
The Canada geese understood the movement, making their communal transcriptions in broad V’s and W’s. They celebrated with the heavy honking which comes only after weddings. They enjoyed the leaving.
While the rest of autumn, here, slowly rotted into the dirt.
And then I found a milkweed pod. It hung there dry, brown and alone. I carried it back down the trail to show the kids. My wife pulled it apart.
We felt the soft, holy strings. And then a sudden jumping. Once everything had settled, my youngest was covered in silky white seeds.
And today I hadn’t even noticed there was a breeze. Until it took the shape of a soft blanket after a baptism.
I keep a constant need for this kind of rebirth, especially in seasons of falling. I need my Father’s Presence. I need to be sprinkled, poured over and pulled under by His water. He knows how to wash me with a million holy strings.
However they reach me, I am thankful for holy winds.
They move me forward with the strength of water.