Before the wind shakes the bronze leaves from the oaks,
While the maple is aflame and the poplar is still gold,
Flocks of birds take to the flyways of the continent
Down the great river valleys and along the seacoasts.
They fly above the changing landscape of autumn
Toward the warm lands of cypress and orange grove.
Sometimes we long to fly with them, to escape,
To send our souls away on a southern journey.
Lord God, who gave warbler, mallard and wren
The strength to migrate, the sense to know the way,
Give us strength to survive the cold seasons of our lives.
Help us through study and thought and meditation
To find the direction we are to travel,
With the same sure sense You have given the flying birds.
Help us through prayer and ritual and Your appointed
To return even from the strange journeys of the soul
That take us to far countries of pretended peace.
We thank You, Oh Lord, for making us part of earth,
To wonder at its creatures, to exult in all its beauty.
We give thanks to You for making us part of heaven,
To see beyond the changing beauties of this fair earth,
To praise You and bless You who are creator of all.
From Ruth F. Brin, HARVEST: Collected Poems and Prayers, The Reconstructionist Press, New York, 1986. Used by permission of the estate of Ruth F. Brin, z”l. Rabbi Deborah J. Brin, a daughter of the author, can be contacted by clicking here.