As we transect the city streets which look like mirrors, dark and wet with the insistent rainfall, we zip up our boots and our hoods, faces close to the candle just a couple minutes longer to savor the light. The lights burn in markets and tea houses, beckoning those who hang on to their habitual morning walks. Feet may get damp and fingertips tingle, but there is always warm china mugs, hot soup, and cider.
The fall forest emerges. Ferns and firs are soggy, friends to the slugs and squirrels, Drip, drip, drip: catching the rain like a marble run.We walk to the drumbeat of raindrops on leaf canopy, sounds that the forest knows well. We peek into hollows of trees, looking for creatures hiding. Hiding is something we don’t do in the midst of a rain storm; our tea mugs and wool socks and hot showers can wait.
For now, we raise our hoods in unison and step lightly on the dusty trail turning to mud. We climb and then we descend to a city covered in mist and fog. The fall forest emerges. We can see a little more of it each day as leaves make their graceful twirls to the depths of the ravine, taking to the stage one last time before coming to rest in soft piles. Green retreats slowly, letting yellow and orange and red take their turn. Green leaves leave, revealing a feast of fiery foliage on the palette. The fall forest emerges.
We match the fiery feast in our kitchens- orange squashes, red apples, crunchy and spiced with the browns of cinnamon and cloves. We raise a glass to the drumming on the roof- rejoice for rain, because you seem to want to stay awhile. We warm our food on the electric stove, watching steam rise and curl, carrying away our secrets. When dinner arrives on our plates, we add hot sauce and drink our wine, warmth to cold bodies.
Dry and warm inside, I worry about my wild friends of the forests and streets- the wrens shaking water off their long tail feathers, spiders crawling into drain pipes, moles, unseeing, feeling the slick of mud between their clawed toes. Squirrels hoarding seeds. I wonder what they do in the winter, in their trees and webs and graves while we wear wool and bake. Where do they go to escape the flood? Do they long for drier days or are fur and feathers enough? We are so spoiled, us humans. Maybe spoiled or maybe weak.
At this season of extremes, when winter and fall intermingle with the mild days of a seducing Indian Summer, water is everpresent. It becomes part of us as it makes its way into our winter psyche. Drumming on the roof, pinpricks of dew in our hair, like tears on our cheeks, soaking into the garden beds, hanging onto leaves which will soon fall themselves, the whir of wet wheels on pavement. Winter, come too soon. Wet. Warm. Wool-wearing. Woods. Wren. Where do you go to enjoy the fall rains?