The big-leaf maple grove in front of my window has not really turned its mind to autumn yet. Almost all leaves are still deep green. But a small cousin clinging to the hillside a bit to the north is almost half bright yellow, which means I get to watch the leaves take off.
Because maple leaves don't actually fall so much as soar. I watched one moving horizontally on a brisk autumn breeze until it started moving upward, seeming uninterested in actually ending up on the ground at all. It disappeared past the top of my window on its way toward the roof.
Even without the assistance of wind, maple leaves take their time to get from branch to earth. Something about the broad, irregular shape and the protruding stem permit them to dance once they are free to do so. I'm envious. With my aching back and knees and shoulders, I doubt I will be able to make so free-spirited an exit when the time comes. And I'm almost sure I won't turn brilliant yellow to make a final bright flash on my way out. So I guess the best I can do is to applaud those who know how to go out with a flourish. And the show this year is only beginning.