This week's word is an adjective that comes to us from the Middle English flete and Old English flēot, both meaning to float. In common usage, fleeting describes things that live for a brief time and pass out of the world swiftly, sometimes in twinkling of an eye. Synonyms for this week's offering are some of my favorite words - cursory, ephemeral, evanescent, impermanent, meteoric, momentary, passing, transitory, vanishing, volatile, elusive, ethereal, gossamer, temporal, transient, transitory, vanishing, vaporous, volatile.
The Two Hundred Acre Wood is different than it was a few weeks ago. Himself and Spencer and I rambled there this week, making our way through windy sunlit woods that seemed to go on and on forever, traversing granite slopes and groves of trees changing color, their falling leaves caught in branches or suspended on strands of spider silk, occasionally floating down to rest at our feet. A fey wind ruffled our hair, scattered acorns, pods and fluff in all directions. Stands of goldenrod, milkweed and wild carrot (Queen Anne's lace) are going to seed, and they watched us pass, committing our journey and the season to wild and elemental memory.
There are fine wild musics everywhere these days. I take my blackthorn walking stick along on our rambles, and it makes a pleasant racket as it scuffles through the bounty at our feet. Wherever we go, we are accompanied by the wingbeats of geese flying back and forth between nearby rivers and farm fields, by the exultant tumult of the creek in the gorge as it races toward the beaver pond on the other side of the woods, bearing its precious freight of liberated leaves and whiskery twigs. Both creek and pond seem to be made of blue sky.
Stopping for a moment, we drink in the light slanting through the trees, and there is the clear sense that everything around us is fleeting and fragile and precious. It seems as though only yesterday we were rejoicing in the filtered emerald light of summer and contemplating our unruly rural garden. Now here we are in our woods, seeing all around us the clear, irrefutable evidence that another season is on its way.
The passing of the seasons is a powerful reminder that we are here in the Great Round for only a brief time. For a scant handful of days, we go walking through this world, and we blaze with life and spirit as we go, lit from within and throwing off sparks. Life is a glorious, fleeting thing, and autumn says that best.