The dogs pull at their leashes, and I think my shoulder will come out of the socket. Dusk is approaching and with it the light is soft among the trees. The smell of leaves which have fallen is in the air and I wonder how the trail got carpeted in just a few days. Each footfall brings a familiar crunching sound. I breathe deep in the scent of fall. Along with campfire smoke, I smell the freshly cut trees tossed to the ground by Irma. The trail has been cleared, but the sawdust is fresh. There is a breeze, which gives away autumn is here, with its slight chill. Somehow fall snuck up on me this year, but then it is almost October so I should not be surprised. Coming around the pond, where the water is high and covered in leaves, we find a bench. Sitting, I take in the fading pink sky, the trees gently swaying in the breeze, and the green grass in a perfect little field nearby. Deep breaths fill my lungs with sweet musty air and I exhale the stress threatening to overwhelm me lately. More deep breaths and my shoulders begin to relax. The dogs are ready to move on, so we continue back under the canopy of trees, where it is darker than you might expect, but more beautiful than you can imagine in the cool of the evening.
On our way, the windows are down and the sunroof is open to allow fall to follow us home. The pink sky has faded to gray and it begins to twinkle with stars. The moon is looking down, watching over the domain beneath it. Roads curve gracefully. Three bears, two babies and a mama, stand in the road for a split second before casually traipsing back into the trees where they disappear into the shadows in an instant. The creek beside the road is singing to the approaching night, welcoming it to come. Which it does, enveloping the forest and waking the nighttime creatures. A deer crosses our path and we stop to watch her go. She stops still as a statue and regally stares us down. A moment passes between us. We are in her territory so she does not run away. She appears to be waiting for someone, perhaps her buck, to cross over to meet her. We move along so she can be reunited with whoever is on the other side of the road.
Wind blows my hair in every direction. My hand is out the window playing in the current like I used to do as a kid. The sky has darkened more, making the mountains into shadows. There is honking over the top of us. The geese are headed south in their perfect V formation. They are dark outlines against a charcoal backdrop. We slow to listen and watch. Another V formation comes right behind the first. It seems they are ready to be on their way to wherever it is they go. The wind carries them and they appear to be happy about that fact the way they are talking to one another. By the time we arrive home, the sky is black and the stars have brightened considerably. The moon has risen higher and is smiling a crescent smile. The crisp air heightens visibility and I bask in the beginning of fall…my favorite season of the year.