The Great Quivering of Autumn

“I just witnessed the Great Quivering of 🍂🍁🍃 Autumn!” I said as I stepped into the house flushed with the exercise and thrilled with the beauty of a blustery day. “Luckily, I checked the weather before heading out.” I said taking off my light jacket.

“What’s she saying?” said the daughter, raising her sleepy head from the couch, and pulling her teeth out of a bagel.

“Its windy outside!” said her little brother, already practicing that teenage eye roll, and the art of turning poetry into the prosaic.

I rolled him up and said, “You too buddy?! Come here – you would have loved it. you know that? I saw so many hawks – I have never seen so many of them soar up together in great big circles like this. All of nature quivered. Trees shook, branches swayed, waves lapped at the shores of the lake, and leaves, oh my goodness – so many leaves went quaking to the floor. I stood with my arms apart like this and just stood there!”

“In the middle of the road?! Appa, I told you not to let her out alone!” moaned the teenager, and we all laughed.


No amount of pictures and videos will do the least bit of good when you catch glimpses of the rays filtering through the quivering leaves, or feel the light caress of falling leaves against your skin or catch the beautiful leaves of all colors against the blue skies. How does one capture the beauty of seeing a dozen hawks soar overhead, or the awe of seeing the pelicans do their little ballet dance of fishing, or the susurration of the leaves murmuring in the wind. There is a word for this: Psithurism.

As I gathered my little brood around me for a hot cup of tea after that invigorating walk, I shushed them to peek outside to see what I meant. The leaves were fluttering down in our garden, but there was another creature up and about at work regardless of the winds. 

“Bulby!” said the son excited.

“You named the squirrel? He can give you rabies you know that?”

“He can, but he won’t, and certainly not for naming him! You talk as though he is yearning for our company. I assure you, he isn’t. Just watch what he does. Bulby never fails to entertain.” I said, and the son nodded fervently. 

After sometime, we all burst out laughing at the squirrel’s antics. We have seen him hide great nuts in the soil every now and then, he nibbles and gnaws at the fruit on our trees, I have seen him scamper on seeing us sometimes, other times he watches us as though he doesn’t mind allowing us to enjoy a spot of nature with him. Today, he dug up my recently planted flower shoots, and dug something out, looked at us and furtively patched the garden up as though nothing had happened, and scurried. He had something on his mind, maybe a gut feeling of what was to come.

The morning out amidst nature, and finishing up with Bulby’s antics made me think of one of Mary Oliver’s poem:

From the Book of Time – By Mary Oliver

I rose this morning early as usual, and went to my desk.
But its spring,

and the thrush is in the the woods,
somewhere in the twirled branches, and he is singing.

And so, now, I am standing by the open door.
And now I am stepping down onto the grass,

I am touching a few leaves.
I am noticing the way the yellow butterflies
move together, in a twinkling cloud, over the field.

And I am thinking: maybe just looking and listening
is the real work.

Maybe the world, without us,
is the real poem.

The wind whipped and whooshed around all day. By evening, the winds had gathered speed alarmingly, trees that had swayed earlier in the day were lying broken, roads closed, emergency responders were keeping the populace further up North informed about the situation, power was down. It astounds me every time how forceful nature can be. But it also made me stop and think – the hawks had been more fitful than usual that morning, the squirrel was bustling more too. The animals knew we were in for a rough time, and responded, while we waited by our gadgets to give us the news.


It is marvelous how Mary Oliver puts her finger on the pulse of the Earth :
Maybe just looking and listening is the real work,
Maybe the world without us is the real poem.

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