The fruitless mulberry tree, always the last to change, is almost entirely green, with only a handful of fallen yellow leaves scattered beneath it. The mild afternoon is full of chirping birds who swoop and dart and peck at the newly green lawn. Portia is watching them from the window, and seems to be in no hurry to go back outdoors. The shaft of warm sunlight in which she is basking must be more appealing than the prospect of catching a bird.
The valley has an autumn haze above it, but above the ridges the vapor has formed into swaths of thin clouds that occasionally dim the sunlight but seldom bring full shade. The afternoon breezes are too gentle to dislodge even the dead leaves, or to stir any of the leaves to more than a soft rustle that is as soothing as a cat's purr. The breezes will probably grow stronger as evening arrives, and the air will cool rapidly, but for now the afternoon is as placid as a still lake. I'll do nothing to disturb it, but merely skim across its surface like a water strider.