This morning I sip smoky Hu-Kwa tea, and outside my window a late sugar maple is still vibrant orange. Here and there a woolly white cloud drifts sedately passed, like milkweed down borne by a soft breeze. It is a fine Autumn Day, warm though my breath lifts steaming in the sunlight.
For a connoisseur of color this was not an exceptional year in western New England. It was too dry for too long, then the rains fell heavy and the frost was late. Still, if the landscape had a more subtle grandeur, there were accents of brilliant color from a grand old pair of maples framing an old homestead, or drifts of blueberries high on the ridgetops. The dry corn and the deep russet oaks add tone and texture.
The wild cry of the migrating geese, though, is all but absent on the wind. I remember the great flyway of the Hudson Valley, just over these low mountains to the west, and great rafts of geese thick as warbirds that advanced in their thousands at this time of year. I have seen a few solitary squadrons, but nothing to rival those of my youth. I miss them, and the thrill in my mother's eyes when she turned her face skyward at their calling.
There are some rare wonders that remain elusive. I have never seen foxfire, that bioluminescence from fungi on rotting bark that sometimes appears at night in our Autumn woodlands when conditions are right. Several species produce this effect, and it was even used to illuminate the dials on David Bushnell's Revolutionary War submarine "The Turtle". Some night, perhaps, when stars bead the branches like cobweb dew, I will see this eldritch light.