Our Echo
Title, story type, location, year, person or writer
Add a Post
View Posts
Popular Posts
Hall of Fame

The Fall of Life

Story ID:8353
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Fort Lee NJ USA
View Comments (7)   |   Add a Comment Add a Comment   |   Print Print   |     |   Visitors
The Fall of Life

The Fall of Life

I redid this old story today.

The Fall of Life

The nights grew long; the air cooled; leaves changed color; migrating birds
made their way south - fleeing winter. Fall was almost upon us – my favorite time of
year. A walk through the forest was a trip to an art gallery. The trees compete, each a
work of nature’s glorious art.

A canopy of color shaded me. I stood under them, looked up and saw sunlight
streaming through the branches. It struck each leaf and was reflected back with an un-
imaginable brilliance.

In the quiet of the forest, I heard a small snap. A single leaf floated delicately
to the ground. A light breeze stirred the branches - a multicolored snow storm. The
colored flakes landed on my head and shoulders. They cover the seeds and nuts dropped
earlier in the year. Some already had small sprouts reaching for the sky.

The seeds of new life were soon buried under a cover of delicate and dying
leaves, a cover provided by the tall trees standing over them. The leaves protected the
future from the cold winter to follow. In spring, the leaves decomposed and provided rich
nutrients to nourish a new generation.

A week later I was back. I wanted to enjoy the season before it was gone. The
leaves rustled under my feet. The air was scented with the odor of dampness and
decomposition, as the leaves began to decay – a pleasant smell. I shuffled along, pushing
the leaves in front of me. They parted and swirled around my feet like the waters on a
beach. My heart was heavy. Another year was gone.

At home, I looked in the mirror – a hint of grey at my temples. I noticed a few
more in the whiskers on my chin and a few chest hairs followed suit. The hair on the
top of my head, like the leaves, were mostly gone. I’m in the fall of life. Could my winter
be close?

I sat in my chair, tried to watch a game on television, but I couldn’t focus. Where
did my spring and summer go?

My son walked by. He was a tall, healthy, and good looking young man. “See ya,
Dad. I’m going to work.” The door closed behind him.

I thought of the trees, the seeds, the nuts, the leaves, my children and
grandchildren. Like the trees, I spread my seeds and protected them. They grew from
seeds and sprouts, to tall, strong saplings.

The trees and I have weathered many storms. We swayed and bent under their
force, but we stood over our young, sheltered them, and covered them when they were

My heart felt lighter. Fall was not the beginning of the end. It is the past
protecting the future. One day, a storm will blow in; I’ll topple over – my winter.

The young I sheltered, free of my shadow, will take my place to protect the next
generation – my job complete.

Michael T. Smith