The leaves are almost entirely gone, the forest is empty and open. Only the oak and beech hold on to their leaves. The oak will eventually empty himself, but the beech will cling to her yellow ochre leaves all winter, like the chapter of a book she won’t release until she has a new one to write in Spring.
The leaves are almost entirely gone, yet it is still warm. Winter has barely shown her face. But the Moon rises high in the night, and dusk comes early and does not linger. Outside my kitchen window I can see now that the holly tree is bedecked in her red berries. She stands at the edge of the forest like a gatekeeper, friendly but fierce.
The leaves are almost entirely gone and the sky is low and gray. I suppose I should feel grateful for the warmth, the quiet weather, for soon enough it will be challenging to write outside like I am right now. And the sweet smell of leaves on the ground, like fine cured tobacco, will be swept away. October is gone, and November has arrived like a substitute teacher, gentle and easy, a respite before the storms of December and January. It is the perfect month for gratitude, a quiet contemplative gratitude, that gathers like maple and oak leaves on the ground, sweetly fragrant as they nourish the dark womb of earth.