Enemies of Leaves

The highway between Tennessee and North Carolina winds between several mountain passes, including Sam’s Gap at the border between the two, named for James Sams and his family who had a wagon malfunction and settled in this area back in 1832. Of course the road then was quite a bit different. This modern stretch of highway was completed over 20 years ago, actually lowering the gap 150 feet, and building the retaining wall visible above the highway’s curve protecting the road from falling rocks.
Less than a week ago, these slopes were at peak fall color. But now the leaves are falling victim to their twin enemies of wind and rain. The winds can be fierce, and the gray cloud signals an approaching storm bringing rain that will tear at the clinging leaves.
There is still color to be found, dotting the slopes. I admire the tenacity of the leaves that have been hanging on through so many storms this autumn. But finally time and weather have taken their toll, and there are more leaves on the ground than in the trees. I will miss the fiery leaves, but already admire the new sweeping vistas that have been hidden behind the canopy of leaves since spring. Like the leaves I am holding on to the fading season, enjoying every moment. But soon the leaves and I will be swept into the stark beauty of winter.