These Speaking Trees


                                       Before the leaves change, light transforms these lucid
                                       speaking trees. The heavy drench of August
                                       alters, things; its rich and sappy blood
                                       relaxes where a thirst ago, no rest
                                       released the roots’ wet greed or stemmed their mad
                                       need to be more. September is the wisest
                                       time — neither the unbearable burning word
                                       nor the form of it, cooped in its cold ghost.
                                               — Anne Stevenson, “Sonnets for Five Seasons

So much change is afoot at autumn’s cusp.  Some of it is gradual, observed day by day as a new palette bleeds across leaves, or petals dry and gather themselves into new guises.  One leaf withers into a luna moth, crumpling steadily from its midline towards its jagged margins.


Some change is so sudden it descends like a dropped stage curtain, a first fall sunset turning from orange to blue and back to neon pink streaked with violet.

The air carries change.  The beagles sniff at tangy woodsmoke-tinged vapor from grills relit now that summer’s scorching heat has passed and winter’s bitter air hasn’t yet arrived.

portsmouthfall1 176

Birds’ songs switch out with the changing of the guard as some species flee south.  Notes from nighttime marching band practice float across the city, a swelling synchronicity as the season moves from summer into fall.

Jupiter” lingers, a mixture of what I can actually hear and what I heard years ago when my children played their parts in the Planets Suite.  The band director will keep some of the old performances’ gems but update sounds and steps to suit the new guard.  I hear the percussion ensemble’s director at practice, rearranging movements and correcting the tempo–then, not now–and smile: “It’s ‘Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity,’ and you’re playing it like a dirge . . . . ”

My entire life in recent years has undergone a sea-change, into something that has not nearly settled, or yielded grief’s tenacious clutch, but is in measures rich and strange.


About Stephanie

In her spare time, Stephanie works full-time, and then some, as an attorney. She has published articles and delivered talks in arcane fields like forensic evidentiary issues, jury instructions, and expert scientific witness preparation. She also is an adjunct professor at a law school on the banks of the Charles and loves that dirty water, as she will always think of Boston as her home. You are welcome to take a look at her Facebook author page, or follow @SMartinGlennon on Twitter. All content on this blog, unless otherwise attributed, is (c) 2012-2020 by Stephanie M. Glennon and should not be reproduced (in any form other than re-blogging in accordance with Wordpress protocol and the numerous other wee buttons at the bottom of each post) without the express permission of the domain holder.
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5 Responses to These Speaking Trees

  1. scillagrace says:

    “…in measures rich and strange…” reverberating with that and the marching band practice and all the rest we have in common. A wondrous Autumnal Equinox to you, Stephanie. Change is our mysterious beatifier, and we are each becoming more blessed. 🙂

  2. Beautiful shots. I love the header photo. 🙂

  3. . says:

    You have an extraordinary memory and positive approach to a life “rich and strange.” Love the photographs. Thank you for sharing with all of us. Your writing is beautiful.

  4. Wow you are an attorney. I hope you stop by my blog. I have a paralegal degree worked for small firms, got my Bachlor in Tech Bus Mgmt, now back to cutting hair at 8.00 hourly/ 48 Years old. Cannot support myself and am hopeing to be led in another God given direction soon. As a faithful Christian I pray each day. If you have any advice, or I changed my blog theme let me know what you think or if I should add another page about my loves of law. Jackie

  5. Marie Keates says:

    A haunting read. Thank you.

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