AUTUMN LEAVES by Cynthia Smith


She had always loved this time of year, Autumn. From her window, she enjoyed the changing panorama of the trees as they turned gold, russet and red. They reminded her of other Autumns, long ago; collecting chestnuts with her father; marvelling at The Fall colours in New England, on holiday with her husband.
The next day there were fewer leaves on the trees, more on the ground. She recalled running through fallen leaves as a child and the unique, crunchy sound they made. She wished she had someone to share the colours and run through the leaves with now. But she was alone, and housebound.
The woman continued sitting looking out of the window, as she did much of the day. She liked to watch the birds as they hurried about their business, and if a cat appeared her heart was in her mouth in case it caught one. She loved the squirrels, sitting up eating nuts or chasing each other. They always brought a little smile to her face.
Leaves Falling on the fossIt had been a windy night and next day there were not many leaves left on the trees, just a few stubborn ones clinging to the lower branches. The weather was turning cold and her pain felt worse. The autumnal colours were gradually fading to greys and browns. But the woman remains in her chair in front of the window. She does not move. She will never move again. Pale golden light slants through the trees as the sun sinks slowly towards the horizon, a crimson orb heralding the end of daylight. Soon the naked trees are silhouetted against the darkening sky.
The woman in the chair will not see Spring; but she is no longer suffering. She has moved into that soft, dreamless sleep that lasts for ever.
Autumn leaves. And Winter takes its place.
Cynthia Smith   31. 3. 15

(Photo – Falling Leaves on the Foss – Littlebeck, Whitby by Kevin Murphy.)


2 thoughts on “AUTUMN LEAVES by Cynthia Smith

  1. This story reminds me of a radio play I heard many years ago, in which a woman on her deathbed told her husband that she would die when the last leaf fell from the tree outside her window. So, whilst the woman slept, her husband painted a masterpiece of the tree and the leaf and placed it in the window. When the ‘leaf’ did not fall, the woman recovered.

    I like the phrase, ‘Autumn leaves. And Winter takes its place.’ Is that original?


  2. This is such a beautiful, moving piece Cynthia.

    It invokes imagery that the journey through life is like a tree losing its leaves during autumn.

    The transformation from our verdant childhood, into golden adolescence then our russet and copper maturing. Eventually we become brown and brittle and more susceptible to the breezes of life, until the next generation runs carefree through our remnants, as we did in our youth.

    Poignant and yet promising all at the same time.

    (Thanks to Kevin for the photo of Falling Foss/Littlebeck/Whitby where I used to run through the crunchy autumn leaves myself as a young child.)


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