Along the north side of the building
bordered by an empty lot
on the southeast corner of Summit and Chestnut,
long vines stretch up in vertical lines,
climbing their way either up toward the sun
or opposite the pull of gravity.
I’d like to think that it’s a seeking of greater light
but escaping what drags us down is not a bad choice, either.
Two weeks ago,
struck by the even patterns
and symmetrical shapes,
the colors and textures
of greens and reds and crimson,
the full flush of leaves
shaping long arrows tapering toward the top,
I thought I should stop and take a picture,
something to send to others
who are not near to here
but share a sense of beauty
and a love for calm things.
But I waited
for a more convenient moment,
for a time of perfect light
and no cars in the parking lot
and no need for me to be somewhere else
sooner rather than later.
half of the leaves are gone,
taken by the season and its good reasons
and leaving me standing here
in the half-light of dawn,
knowing that it’s my own damn fault,
that I could have caught a near-perfect picture
a dozen different times.
It might be beautiful again next year
but it will never again be what it was.