The mist lay on the mountainside like carded wool as I drove along the Housatonic gorge this morning. It coiled above the riffles and the wet gray stones of the river. A warm rain, borne on a southern wind, settled over the cool water and the bare trees of the forest. Here and there, the leathery leaves of canopy oaks and the paler ones of understory beeches broke up the monochrome procession of branch, limb and trunk. Stiff green bristles of hemlock and pine thrust above the shrouds of fog. Water poured through clefts in the mountainside to join the swirling river below. There was not a breath of wind save for that left by the passing of my truck along the roadway.
We have passed Autumn's riot of color, settling into the season of russet and gray with its short days and thick blankets. These November rains are gentle, a lingering caress to the frost-kissed earth, still soft and yielding underfoot. The air does not yet bite, nor howl about the rafters and rattle the casements. Grass that is still green drinks deep. Buzzards grounded by the weather perch in the topmost branches of spruce and fir, wrapped against the rain in their feathery greatcoats.
Soon enough the air will crackle with cold and windows glaze with hoarfrost. There will be time enough for shovels, for snow that sifts through upraised branches and silent nights with brittle stars. The ponds in the valley are still free of ice. The geese still wing southward, except on days like these, when the clouds come to earth and the rain still holds something of the faded warmth of summer. The seasons blur, here on the cusp of winter. Hard edges are soft and indistinct. There is food laid by and the woolens in the hallway smell of ceder, waiting for the days to come when they will be needed once more. We also wait, watching the rain, and remember.