Beside a lake
in a land
of mountains and trees.
The tree leaves popped
into vibrant
oranges and reds and yellows
two weeks later
than the local people
expected. So we got to see them.
There are no words or photographs
that capture the beauty
or what happens inside
upon seeing them.
And then,
snow fell! White on
orange and gold.

Now, after five days
in Lake Junaluska, N.C.,
with the community
of United Methodist Deaconnesses,
Home Missioners, Home Missionaries
and friends,
including some who walked
together in a lovely native plant garden,
I am savoring these days
in the land of mountains and trees.

Standing in a forest
along the Blue Ridge Parkway,
at the North Carolina Arboretum,
so silent,
so still,
I can watch leaves twirl to the ground
and hear their soft fall
onto the forest floor.