The silver hairs glinting at my temples
Seem alright today.
They do not shock
or dismay.
they tell me a story about
a stretch of road travelled
in this life
that is mine.

Perhaps it is the trees on this early autumn day
that allowed me this fresh look at my age.
They show just a tiny hint of their change;
bits of brown, gold and yellow
announcing the symphony of color to come
before the great fall
and the dead of winter

In the days before blood, the tears begin.
Painful. Stormy. Then, clear.
Sometimes they come in forceful waves
Other times they flow gently and consistently
Moistening the air around me.
They always bring with them
dreams to see and hold.
They ask me to know them
As they move through.

Once the bleeding starts,
I usually feel much more comfortable.
The storms have passed and
I settle peacefully into the cycle of life.
My womb physically sheds the bloody past
and I move on with
a fresh new start.

A fresh new start.
Day One.
I am blessed again.

Each year
the trees get a new chance
to grow up and out
Greener and more bold.
Every cycle
I have the chance to emerge
A changed woman
Makes me want to exfoliate thoroughly
so that the wind will be even closer.

Despite this newness
there is evidence on my flesh
that tells stories of the past.
My body is a storybook:
appendectomy, stretch marks from pregnancy,
scars from a sex disease contracted
in a painful time many years ago.
The dog that attacked my eye,
the tattoo from an important birthday
the colors that decorate my hair
the nails kept short from a nervous habit
my teeth somewhat yellow from the smoking years
and too much coffee,
my fat cells engorged with food eaten
when I was lonely and bored.
Arms and shoulders muscled
from carrying tired children
callouses on fingertips from violin strings,
and lines etched near my mouth and eyes from
countless moments laughing.

And there is also my shape.
Despite all of the differences between us
I am gradually coming to look like
My mother.
Sometimes I catch a sideways glimpse of my posture,
or my hips and belly from a certain angle, and
even my face after a night without much rest
and I see my mother,
just for an instant.

every blood time
makes me new.
I am changed.

And so what of my silver hairs?
They remind me of my relative smallness and
the short time that I have to be.
They make it necessary and desirable
to live deeply and to offer of myself.
they remind me that I am becoming dust.
Just like the leaves,
I will rejoin the earth.
It really is true.
I am gradually becoming earth—
one way or another.

As long as I still hold together,
I want to live beautifully.

The leaves will fall and decompose.
They certainly will.
In the meantime
We all watch their colorful lifespan,
With appreciation
And awe.