Friday, November 02, 2007
Fall is finally settling in around the cabin. The leaves have changed color, even though many still persist in hanging onto the trees. The land no long feels particularly warm underneath a chillier air. The birds that change plumage with the season are now in their drabber togs. Even the deer are turning the dull brown of winter. And yet a few holdovers from the warmer season persist. The killdeer are still hanging out in the parking lots, though I think I am hearing fewer of them than I did just a week or so ago. Yesterday I saw a great blue heron at one of the ponds, one of my later records for the mountain.
I can feel the forest around me quieting. The effusive dawn chorus of spring no longer greets my mornings. Instead of singing birds, I am more likely to hear the angry chatter of squirrels or the territorial white-breasted nuthatch who’s determined to keep all comers from the bird feeder. In the summer, leaves touching each other in the breeze make more noise than you might expect, rustling with almost no provocation. Surrounded as I am by thousands of trees, the leafy whispers are a constant backdrop. Now, with each leaf that drops, the forest quiets a little more. Soon the only sound the trees will make will be the sound of wood against wood, and that only when a breeze with some strength behind it moves across the mountain.
I always look forward to this time of year. It’s a time to relax from the more hectic time of summer. With the early darkness, I don’t feel as guilty in the evenings when I put my feet up to read or knit. In summer, when the daylight lasts until nearly bedtime, I feel a bit guilty about wasting the daylight by settling down too early. No longer, as now there’s no daylight to waste.
The dogs slumber at my feet, eager for bedtime, though to me it doesn’t look like much about that will be so different from what they are doing now to anticipate it they way they do. Still, they follow me with their eyes, lounge underfoot, grumbling a bit, hoping that I will soon settle down for the night so they can too. It’s quiet. It’s November.