The vines turn before the trees, so that a tree still itself green is heavily burdened with the crimson leaves spreading over it.
Birds soar through the sky, their wings brilliantly white in the sunlight; they turn and other parts are dark gray, and I consider whether they are gulls, but as I drive closer, they soar over the highway and show they are swans, every inch white, only dark where shadowed.
Trees like opals, with leaves even in particolor, so that red and green and yellow and orange are flecks so they fill up the mass of leaves without any of them dominating the hue.
The apple tree has leaves that are not so much changing as withering toward greenish brown from green, but the apples among them are bright green and gleam gemlike in the morning light.
Sunset and a rain shower -- light even for a shower, not even dampening all the pavement, but the clouds are illuminated from within, in shades of pinks and peaches from the setting sun. It takes a second to see, against this brilliance, a ribbon of rainbow, colorful, descending, no brighter than the clouds about it.
The new risen moon like a pearl among the dark branches.
Ah, fall is come, and the smooth green bowl of a valley has turned to patchwork, red and orange and green and yellow all the pieces stitched together, but not today -- today the gray fog anonymizes the scene, so that past the first row of trees, anything in the world could lie behind. A hawk sits on a lamppost, its front white with brown specks so regular that it looks like a heraldic fur, and the hawk looks about as dignified as it can on so lowly a perch. The fog thins only a little as I drive onward. As I drive down a lane lined by trees, a burst of black birds flies over it, more and more and more following those before, from one tree bank, muffled in fog, to the other. They must have not quite ready themselves for the flight, for they perched so thickly on a tree outside the window that I could always see them during the day, though I can see only a glimpse of the window from the corner of my cubicle.
The fog begins even at night, as the moon rises with wispy veils about it turned a luminous shade by its light. By dawn, the fog is so thick, even up close, that the nearest houses and trees are behind the all-pervasive grayness. The apple tree out front, before the kitchen window, stood bejeweled with dewdrops. But with breakfast done, and setting forth begun, there lay ahead the discovery that the fog lasted for only a bit on the other side. Fog in the foreground alone, not the background, where the sky was a radiant, delicate, soft shade of blue from the blurring and the gentling of the mist's veil. Driving a ways meant that suddenly the fog ended, and the sunlight lay sideways across the trees, tracing out with radiant sharpness every green and yellow leaf.
A rose bush laden with rosehips, as big as cranberries and brownish red, but also a pale pink rose, in full bloom, and not at all past.
Two days earlier, I had arrived home to rush about, opening windows to vent the heat. But already I get up, shivering, and glance at the thermostat to conclude I really should have turned the heat on.
Birds, birds, birds -- a mass of them flies in an enormous flock over the building and across to the fields on the other side. And then, after a gap, another mass of them, dark against the sky. They flock along the street, filling up the trees.
A rabbit at the fair as black and dark and a panther, sitting stretched out, and for all its cocked ears, looking like a suitable name is Fluffy the Terrible.
How unsuitable for the season the weather is: it is warm, and the air is softened by the moisture in it until it brushes against the cheek more gently than the touch of a kitten's paw. And the birds are twittering as I come out, and the greenery before me is still green, like spring.
Shudder, shudder, shudder, goes the house. Then, creaking, it settles down. Absolutely still night, so it can't have been a gust of wind -- and it would have had to have been a strong gust. A couple of hours later, I learn of the earthquake. Goodie, nothing's wrong with the house. All right then, I've lived through an earthquake. (Nothing got knocked off the walls, even.)
A street in the evening is aglow, all the trees a rich golden or flame red, lining it to either side with their boughs extending over it.
A sun dog glowing with all the colors of the rainbow. I glance over -- with care, there's a sun blazing in the center, and with the spread of the thin layered clouds, it is a fiercely white streak across the sky. Still, there is a sundog reaching up and down -- and I blink, because that's a halo, reaching far above like a rainbow, colored, and somewhat below. Glancing back reveals that the other sundog only reaches up and down a bit, not enough to call it even part of a halo, really.
The misty morning glows with blueness, the mists all but invisible but suffusing the air with the sky's light, until suddenly they thicken and clump, dark and ominous as if smoke pouring from a blaze, shadowing the road, but bursting past the darkness shows the trees, tree after tree after tree, golden or scarlet or even the drab grave green of summer, with the sunlight slanting across them, picking out each leaf with the sharpness of a sword.
Sundogs appear again, this time wildly discordant: to one side, an oblong of almost painful whiteness, touched with yellow and edged with red toward the sun, and on the other, a rainbow's arc, inverted with the red inside, stretching through its small compass, through orange and yellow and green and blue and violet.
The sunlight slants upward. The clouds spread across the sky, here like fish scales, there like carded lamb's wool, there like wisps of smoke -- all of it, actually, like smoke in shade, ranging from a nasty gray to a more bluish one, until the sunlight strikes behind and turns it all to hot, fiery pink, picking out every dip and variation in the height -- and behind it the fragile crescent of the moon.
A cat, a black cat, prowls slowly up a hill toward a squirrel. I startle the squirrel, it skitters off, and the black cat turns its yellow eyes reproachfully on me for a long, long, long time.
The maples that all summer were a stygian shade of crimson are turning piebald. The outer leaves are just withering into darkness, but the inner ones turn shades of yellow and even green as they turn.
A black and white cat -- black on top, white on the bottom -- sits fat on the hood of a car, its body all gathered up as it eyes me. I think. The black runs straight across its nose and outward, and its eyes are very dark, too dark to be made out among the fur.
Geese flying so high up that they look like a line -- until it shifts toward a V, and one leg is clearly dots, rather than continuous.
Inside, a tree glows golden, but the outer leaves are red and even a stygian shade of crimson.
How the leaves thin out. Even on a single tree the colors can be more lacy, and there are hillside of brown, punctuated by brilliant yellow, or rich gold -- and by the oaks in all their steampunk shades from deep red through rusty brown to a shade of sepia. Sometimes there are still trees bearing most their leaves, in scarlet.
A skein of geese fly over the highway, in a wobbly line that shifts about. It's hard to tell which way they are flying with the way they are not gaining an inch.
Thick layers of gray clouds thin out, by evening, to a fleece-like cover -- and a sundog, the soft pure colors of the rainbow, arcing beside it. For once, it stood alone. (a bit later, there were a pair, but the one that had been there before had shrunk, as if half of it had hopped over.)
Great black birds flying across the road, from one thicket of vine-laden trees to another -- ah, crows. Except that driving closer reveals they are entirely too large, and the blackness stems from flying silhouetted against the pale gray of the sky, and they are wild turkeys.
And so the hurricane comes, with me snugly at home, and about to confirm from experience that yes, an earthquake is very like the townhouse being buffeted by gusts of wind. High gusts. Endless gusts. The interior rooms smelled of raw wind and rain. (Aren't hurricanes tropical storms? Is it too much to ask for that it bring some warmth with it? I mutter as I wander about the house, warmly wrapped up.) It only sideswiped the state, with more wind than rain, and in the night hours, moonlight illuminated clouds from behind, which is always eerie, but all the more so when the hurricane's winds are still pounding. Morning brought clouds -- outside the window, a ragged cloud like dirty rags passed before one brilliant white, lit from within by stray sunlight -- a look at the leaves strewn thickly about, clumping of course in corners, a good admixture still green, and a drive with very few downed trees along the way. And a good number of trees still endowed with leaves, and not just green ones. Along the way where the trees were thick but saplings were growing among them, the saplings were ablaze with arrays of golden leaves. And all throughout the day the clouds shuffle along the sky like dirty rags. A hawk likes it, soaring through the sky without so much as a flap of its wings, only tilting when it wishes to turn.