I was afraid there wouldn't be color, this year. The stars came back out a few weeks ago. Peter coaxed me out of bed to watch a full moon eclipse in the middle of a star-and-aurora flecked darkness. The dark took my breath away before I even saw the black disc of earth's shadow blocking the moon. It was harvest-moon red, wet and thick and slowly disappearing into the glorious northern night sky. I still sigh with relief going to sleep without sunlight, evenings.
Mornings are cold. The porch crusted in ice and my breath a fog on the path to the outhouse. I've been shivering my way downstairs, blundering through coffee, lunch packing, pulling on still-uncomfortable dress clothes for my new and unexpected iteration as a student teacher. After which, if all goes to plan, I will take on long term substitute. Given the last three weeks, this is not the relief one might think. The certification, I can manage. The career still fills me with a turmoil of ambivalence. But that is not news.
The trees started turning brown two weeks ago, and I was worried that a summer of warm-and-dry weather had sapped them of their ability to explode into winter with the pomp that marks the season. Then Friday, driving home into a weekend that suddenly carries new meaning and relief, there were the colors. Or a color. The birch have turned and they have blanketed the valley. The aspen, as far as I can tell, have given up the ghost. They are losing their leaves without comment or hue. All summer, I fell in love with the aspen. Their blue-green dance, their shimmering leaves, their powder bark dusting my hands with ancient medicine at a touch. And now I feel like them, dropping from a summer of glorious north-country travel, of wolves and mountains and trucker-banter on the CB into stiff, blistering shoes and pants that require ironing and the hounding of lesson plans to be written.