A seeker once asked Zen Master Un Mun, “How is it when the tree withers and the leaves fall?” Un Mun replied, “Body exposed in the golden wind.”

This weekend saw plenty of bodies exposed in the golden wind. On Saturday, high winds blew one of my living-room storm windows right off its hinges; on Sunday, I sat a one-day Zen retreat in Lexington while the wind howled and sun-lit tree shadows did a frantic dance on the hardwood floor. This morning when I walked Reggie up Beech Hill, I was surprised to see yellow and copper-brown leaves still clinging to birch and beech, these shorter trees sheltered among taller, mostly bare oaks and maples. When the golden wind blows, there’s safety in both numbers and humble stature, species of the so-called understory clinging to their raiment long after taller trees have been blown bare.