Forget about the orange leaves that were falling all around you. It was being inside a gentle tornado of calm death, the leaves twirling down like tops. And it was impossible to grasp the real beauty of it. Nor will I soon remember how you addressed the earth. Calling it drenched in leaves all the colors you can guess dry and all around that crunching friction of the leaves on the branches brushing and the leaves spiraling down touching. You stood there in the middle of this last dance, this gentle tornado like a spinning ballroom dance, all the dancers spinning and presque mort mais heureuse. Each leaf did its own dance and it was one big dance and I stood there in the middle of it until all the leaves had fallen.
I felt that, it feels that, and it will, like the leaves are falling and I in the eye. One can leave and never have left.
Just as one can stay and be gone. And there is the other idea, the other thing that came to you. Unlike the leaves coming down around you, this other thing came. It came when you were looking down and hitting that button on what you said and did not say and before you knew it you were catching I talking to I. A car could have swerved and you would not have seen it coming. But you caught the craziness ... and the ability to appreciate beauty is a most wonderful gift from God.
There was a moment, too, back there, when you were walking so fast and feeling the self-destruction of the night in which you spilled that glass of wine on that woman's lap. Red wine. You knocked it all over her with one of those big ridiculous hand gestures. Back there, when you were carried away by these kind of pitiful contemplations and feeling the pain in your legs, back there you thought you were no longer able or at least for the moment unable to feel any good emotion. But good love came through. You love the trees and the falling leaves and even in the pain of guilt and intoxication, you found your love and beheld its beauty in death.
What thing decays, what goes, what enters back into the earth more gracefully than the falling leaf? Rain? Snow? Sunlight? Not dogs or men. Were leaves, are leaves, Designed to be conduits of water or to be carried by the wind?
However that may be, the beauty in the death of a dog or man speaks directly to the dignity with which that poor creature fell.