October 14th, 2007



Too few leaves have as yet fallen for the landscape to have fully opened beyond its summery confines, so I watch the fading veils of the apple orchard to the south and the browning drapes the oaks raise elsewhere, and I picture the woods and fields which, but for tantalizing glimpses, they still conceal. There the long grasses are dying back and shorter blades of new, pale green rise from the matted ground, enough rain having lately fallen to stir them to life.

The dry smell which lingers well into autumn some years has already been replaced this season by that dank richness which damp brings. The woodlands beyond the fields are damp too, but distance prevents the even richer scents which now ferment there from reaching me. It is the smell of the residue of past seasons now layered, year upon year, slowly returning to soil atop still older soil atop the ancient rock of the mountains.

Every fallen leaf and dead blade of grass is still down there, and that part of the recent rain which soaked in rather than running off is now making its way through that mulch and soil and rock to some distant spring from which it might emerge decades or centuries or millennia hence. I wonder who might drink it then?

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