November 15th, 2006



The waning crescent moon grins at me as I go out to fetch the morning paper. Nearly six o'clock is still dark and the world still feels damp though rain hasn't fallen for hours. In a while, if I go out back I'll see a faint line of light exposing the horizon, and then the complex arrangement of clouds and clear patches which typically mark the eastern sky here on autumn mornings. I like to get to sleep before the sky turns bright, but those sunrises that partly cloudy skies bring are very tempting. Maybe I'll watch just a few minutes of early light turning from mauve to red, and then close the drapes before the disk of the sun shows itself.


Each fall I'm delighted by the varied colors taken on by the leaves of the walnut tree. When they first begin to turn, they are a pale yellow tinged with hints of red, a bit like a ripening peach. Then some of them will turn a slightly deeper yellow, the shade of a ripe Crenshaw melon's flesh. As the season progresses, various fallen leaves take on the hues of various foodstuffs until the ground is covered by reminders of such other comestibles as perfectly browned toast, fresh butter, light caramels, cinnamon, hot chocolate, pumpkin pie and candied yams. Today it became necessary to remove the walnut leaves from the back lawn. Every time I looked out the window the sight of them made me hungry for all sorts of things I either don't have or can't eat. Cinnamon toast I can get away with though. That and some hot tea. But candied yams, mmm, and the vanished melons of summer. I'll probably dream about them. No wonder people gain weight in the fall. It isn't the holidays themselves. It's the leaves subtly suggesting what rich foods should be on the holiday menus. I'll bet the trees want us all to be fat and lethargic so they can take over the planet. Just wait. Don't say I didn't warn you.