October 17th, 2006



Clouds tatter and stars emerge. The clatterdown of acorns punctuates the skittering of lost leaves being carried away on the night breeze. At dusk I'd heard the year's first flock of arriving geese. I think maybe bits of approaching winter clung to their wings and are now let loose in the woods. There's been no more rain, and with the clearing of the clouds the air grows chillier. (It won't be long before nights bring frosts.) For now, I resist the urge to don another layer of clothes. It doesn't do to put them on too soon. I go out to watch Orion, and to become acclimated to the season. (By the time full winter arrives I want to be more tolerant of the cold.) When I return indoors, I find that the warmth makes me drowsy. I'd intended to upload a couple of new icons tonight, but maybe not now after all. To sleep, I think, before the light of dawn appears.


This afternoon I was aural witness to a contretemps between a pair of crows and a flock of acorn woodpeckers. I caught only brief glimpses of the birds themselves as they were mostly concealed among the foliage of the trees beyond my back fence. Apparently, the crows attempted to raid the oaks in which the woodpeckers were foraging, and the woodpeckers, smaller but greater in number, took exception to the crows' effrontery. The woodpeckers grew quite raucous in their objections and momentarily the crows were driven away, though departing only under protest, emitting outraged caws all the way. After the crows had withdrawn, the woodpeckers flew about all the trees in the immediate area, checking to see that no rivals remained, and chuckling happily at their splendid victory.

The weather has returned to sunny and mild, yesterday's chilly overcast having diminished to a few fluffy clouds which drifted through an improbably blue sky. I have no idea why the sky was such a deep shade of blue today, at least several shades darker than that to which we are accustomed in these parts. Whatever the cause, the rich color was luxurious, and a worthy complement to the vivid hues of red, yellow and orange now emerging in many leaves. There's still plenty of vivid green, too, especially on the mulberry and the walnut tree, as well as in that strip of lawn which runs above the septic system's leach lines. It all makes a pleasant setting in which to pass a few spare minutes between tasks.

The pile of leaves I raked the other day but failed to dispose of sits under the walnut tree. Above it, squirrels perch on branches and chew their way into walnuts, dropping bits of husk and shell to the ground. The afternoon is full of the sound of their chewing and barking. My cat naps in a sunny spot, ignoring the furry-tailed rodents who have taken over the tree. She rouses herself only when a new cat appears, sneaking into the yard through a gap in the rear fence's boards. Though this visitor is nearly twice her size and probably less than a quarter her age, she sees it off with much snarling, hissing and yowling. The stranger would probably have put up a fight had I not been present. I'll have to keep an eye out for it whenever Sugar is outside alone.

A dental appointment looms tomorrow afternoon. I considered canceling it, as it was occasioned by the hypersensitivity of the molar that was crowned a couple of months ago, and that sensitivity is much diminished since the technician put some sort of desensitizing agent around the root as part of my cleaning two weeks ago. However, I still suspect that my bite may need a bit of adjustment, so I've kept the appointment and will use it to see about that. I hate to spend any of what promises to be another delightful fall afternoon in the dentist's chair, but I've gotten a bit paranoid about what can happen if I don't keep a careful watch on my teeth. I'm sure they mean to do me harm if they get the chance. I don't intend for them to have it.