fall foliage

Next to the mostly brown woods, the great yellow blob of the lilac seems almost scandalous. It trembles as small birds pass through it.

Warm morning after a cold night, and the oaks are shedding leaves: a dry sound as they hit lower branches, like the ticking of many clocks.

Unsettled weather with rare glimpses of sun, but the leaves go on falling: some spiraling, some pirouetting, some in a graceful glide.

Gray rain ripples the air—November’s fur blurring the last splashes of bright October: salmon-colored cherry leaves, a vivid limb of maple.

The wind has made the leaves at the end of the porch draw into a circle. A red-tailed hawk soars over the house, flapping to stay aloft.

With the walnuts bare, I can see the aspens again—now a flickering orange, like that tree in the Mabinogion burning without being consumed.

The thermometer’s big arrow points straight at 0°C. It was too windy for frost, but fallen red maple leaves cradle white grains of ice.

Pileated woodpeckers fly back and forth cackling, their wings black and white as newsprint amid the cathedral-window colors of the leaves.

Color is creeping into the tall oaks: here a splash of deep orange, there a branch gone burgundy, and just above, a pale smudge of sun.

A cold wind. The first holes have appeared in the golden wall of leaves at the woods’ edge, the winter-white, ridgetop sky leaking through.

In the green and yellow woods, here and there a red branch. But the kinglets in the birches hide their ruby crowns under olive-green shocks.

The wind has stripped the treetops of most remaining leaves, flooding them with light. I watch the sine-wave flight of a far-off woodpecker.