By Annette Marie Hyder
The leaves catch in her hair and stay there burning in every shade of aubergine, scarlet, and gold, flowing and curving into a mass of curls that rustle when she turns her head. They whisper provocatively when the wind gets out of bed.
The sky catches her eye and by the time she has turned away her eyes have been dyed to match the heavens, an eternal blue made up of glaciers, all the empty spaces in the world, and a pillow fight’s worth (for giants that is) of flight feathers.
She touches the bark of the nearest tree, a silver birch and her skin pales to match it. She touches an elm and gray adheres. She touches an oak tree and flakelike freckles sprinkle themselves across her arms. She touches this one and that one and each one she touches gives her a spot or dab of color until she is the color of everything — or at least of every tree. But in becoming every tree color she also becomes translucent.
She shines like glass — a glass filled with spirits of this haunting time of year and as dark as that brew is the sun does not hesitate to put his lips to the glass and sip. She thinks of herself as a libation to the dying sun and an embodiment of hidden things — the kinds of things you might find deep in the woods and under the leaves — the kinds of things that wait on the other side of the thin door that is this time of year.
She shrinks down and becomes a handle on that door, a glass one reflecting all the colors at her threshold. The reflected colors are prisms of change streaming like a reverse maypole ribboned with reds and golds beneath the biggest canopy — the wide open sky.
Listen closely and you can hear the handle being turned in time’s large palm, the melancholic music of the door creaking and sighing as it is opened and Fall’s voice in every leaf, singing miniature psalms, shaking with passion, trembling with awe. Fall is singing.