In our back yard, the leaves on the great leaning mulberry tree are still mostly green. The black gum in the front yard started to turn red last month, turning at the very top of the tree, but then all those bright leaves drifted to the ground, and the rest of the leaves have stayed green. They are dry now, and look as if they could fall off at any moment.
Last night we had a bit of rain – a quiet, gentle rain – and this morning the ground is littered with leaves, front and back. So are the gutters.
It's been a dry, unusual autumn. The harvest here has kept farmers busy. Corn is piled on the ground at local elevators, even as huge machines move from one field to another, lumbering along country roads.
Autumn colors are subtle, although grasses along the roadsides glow golden. We've had warm days, and a few cool nights, the kind where you pile extra blankets on the bed because suddenly, temperatures that will seem warm next spring, seem chilly right now.
Every autumn moves at its own pace, moves right along to the day when the temperature doesn't get above freezing, when we draw the curtains against the cold and the dark, when we settle the soup kettle on the back burner. Every autumn brings its own burnished beauty, its own fragrance of dusty leaves and dried grass, its own melody of squirrels scurrying to bury just one more nut in the back yard.
Every autumn leads to winter, one lovely day at a time.