Came home to find that the leaves here have completely turned the corner from summer to fall. There's not a green leaf anywhere. When I turned into the driveway it was lost under a layer of leaves, and more were blowing down throughout the woods. The thinning of canopy could literally be felt as I got out of the car and the afternoon sunshine hit my shoulders. It was pretending to be fall last week - today I came home to real thing.
Being gone almost a week is good for us all. Winston and Radu missed me possibly as much as I missed them and our life at Middlewood. They were jumping, yapping and ready for a walk before I even got to the back door, my arms filled with luggage. They looked totally frustrated by me as I emptied the car, called my parents, and found my hiking shoes. In fact, by the time we headed out to the woods the sun had gone down. From the pipeline the sky still remembered the sun and was bright in the west, while night was a dark blue smudge on the northeastern horizon. A waxing gibbous moon hung silent in the dusky blue sky, just above the treeline.
We hiked toward the creek but didn't go all the way down. Above Meetinghouse Creek a Great Horned Owl began hooting on the far hill... when I stopped to listen I realized that it was not one but three owls calling back and forth! The trees along the pipeline showed as a band of yellow, orange and brown with a slender white skeleton of a bare sycamore standing out against them. Fall field crickets chirruped in the grass around us.
On the way back Radu disappeared (as usual) into the quiet woods after some unknown creature. The lights from the house twinkled in the distance and for the first time since adopting Radu, I beat him home.