My all time favorite poem by Mel Ellis.
Notes from Little Lakes
If I should come down another thousand rivers, worship at another thousand sunsets, be awed by another thousand raging seas… I will never be so inspired as a during recent five minutes while on a high hill I watched the wind fill the valley below with the ebb and flow of a million swirling leaves.
And if I blush again with spring at the naked beauty of a first white bloodroot, turn miraculously tan under the unabashed sun of still another sultry summer, beat back once more with vigor the winter ice from the threshold of my home… I still will never come quite as close to the universal mysteries as during that autumnal moment on the high hill above the swirling swale of color.
Right then I knew that the word brown had so many millions of meanings that it would take more than all the pages of all the books ever written to describe each. Right then I knew that not one single red- now, before or ever- was precisely like any other red, and that the shades of yellow outnumbered the sands, the stones, the stars.
Then as I watched, and the wind quieted and the leaves settled to lacquer the land, I knew I would never gain need the word of God or any man to tell me that I was as unique and as grand and as much a part of the purpose as was every beech, butternut, oak or maple leaf a special part of that great cyclone of color.
And I knew then that if I had come only from the Rescue Mission to the Milwaukee River bank, from a Beaver Dam backcountry farm to an Ivory Tower, from a birthing beneath a palm to death beneath another palm… I counted, I mattered, and I was as important and unique as each and every leaf was important to that moment when the forest set its summer legions charging down the valley on the winds of death.
And maybe that is something special for a mere mortal, a rare gift to come that close, during the late afternoon of a dying October, to the mystical magic that makes the mouse that steals my corn as much a part of the purpose as an Aristotle or an Einstein.