We are ready for winter. The firewood is stacked, some in the garage and some out by the pond. I've moved the mittens, scarves, and hats from the big bin in the garage onto the racks in the laundry room. We have had our first snow, although it did not last long, and brightly coloured winter coats have appeared everywhere on campus and in my home community.
Usually, though, in October (well, with global warming, it's now sometimes November), we get one unusually warm day, one last sunny day on which I can take a walk in the wood without a coat or gloves. When I woke up this morning to sunshine flooding my bedroom, lighting up the cream coloured sheets and down quilt, I opened the window to feel a soft wind, and I knew that today was probably it: the last nice day, that one bonus day we get before we move into winter.
PoetWoman drove over to take a walk with me, and by the time she arrived, it was warm enough for just a sweatshirt. Leaving our coats in the house, we crossed the yard to my trail and then followed an old logging trail that leads deep into the woods. We tramped through the fallen leaves, savoring the smell of them. Now that the thick vegetation of summer has died back, I noticed mosses everywhere, lovely soft bright green moss wrapped around logs and stumps, shining brilliantly amongst crumpled brown and yellow leaves.
PoetWoman brought her camera so we stopped to take photos. We hiked through the forest of Scotch pines and then through mixed hardwoods, most of them bare. The young beech trees still retained their leaves, shining yellow gold. Near the stand of hemlock, we sat on a big fallen tree to talk and enjoy the sounds and smells of the woods.
I've been struggling with headaches these last couple of weeks, shutting off the flourescent lights in my classrooms and taking naps to ward off a full-blown migraine. But in the woods with PoetWoman, comfortably seated on the mossy trunk of the fallen tree, the sun touching my face and the wind warm, I could feel the tension drain from my body, and my head began to feel better for the first time in days.
We eventually made our way back to the house to eat the minestrone soup that had been simmering on the stove while we were walking. Reluctant to be indoors on this last nice day, we sat on the back step, talking, enjoying how warm and soft the wind was. When a lady bug began crawling across the leg of my jeans, PoetWoman took her camera out to get a close-up shot, wanting to capture the orange on blue. Whenever there was a lull in the conversation, we listened to the sound of dry leaves blowing across the yard, birds calling in the woods, and the wind chimes singing above our heads.