November, and I am standing under the light of an almost full moon, near the top of a wooded path that slopes down to a river. The moon has Jupiter for company, and I have Tango the leaf magnet. His fur seems to be unique in that each and every fine strand is lined with microscopic barbs that snag every small twig and dead leaf from the forest floor. At night, this is not much of an issue. But it is hard to look dignified walking a small terrier by day when he looks like he is wearing a ghillie suit.
The night air is cool but not cold, and something about the weather is not right. My eyes tell me it is fall, almost winter. The sun sets well before five, and, like a weakly lobbed softball, never really climbs that high in the sky before dropping in the southwest. The tree canopy overhead is bare of leaves, and through the black lattice of branches I see a few of the brightest stars, along with the moon. The first time I walk in autumn woods after the leaves have fallen I am always taken back to a childhood living room, listening to my mother read Halloween stories. The comfort of yellow lamp light. A sofa with scratchy coarse green fabric. We would decorate our picture window with store bought and homemade pictures of witches, skeletons, and cats with arched backs. The envy of the neighborhood. But tonight the air does not feel like winter approaching, it feels like spring — Continue reading