River notes – November comes in on a storm

A certain tension, maybe, seems to develop as Fall progresses.  Teased on with a few light rains, the hills start to play the role with colorful trees and a few choice mushrooms showing.  But down below, the river still speaks summer with low, clear water.  I think that might have changed this weekend.  Maybe:

Follow him down the dirt road past the apple orchard, fruit still hanging fast, leaves half gone from the wind the night before the rain. Along the trail are the first shaggy manes pushing through the damp earth – good eating if they can be brought back home and cooked soon enough. Follow him to where the old road fades into a trail and winds through the blackberries. If you’re not careful to stick to the paths that the bears trampled down during the height of it all, you’ll find all that’s left are the leaves and arching canes full of thorns that have a knack for reaching out and grabbing passersby. Along the way you might see the tiny shriveled berries still there, like you could reach out and grab summer back again.

Past the berries, the silt on the high river bank is cool and damp; settled by the rain. The dust is all gone now. The old dried weeds through here are turning from golden yellow to light brown and slowly collapse under their own weight, aided on by a day’s worth of wind and rain, working their way closer to, and back into, the soil. Along the gravel bar, the cobbles and boulders are shiny new again.

The water’s edge has reclaimed some of this. The river rises slowly, over the course of a day. The last green grass stands knee deep in the water now, gently washed by the waves lapping up. And like the berries behind, the algae still clings to the rocks out further, but the currents slowly wear it away and carry it suspended through the run. The water is now the color of strong tea. In the pool below, waves of leaves and algae well up in the backwater and leaves collect here and there along the bottom, occasionally scooting along at their own pace. You can’t miss the bright maple leaves whisking by in the faster water. A small willow branch floats by, probably blown in on the wind.

It won’t get muddy until the next storms really let loose on wetter ground. The emerald green water of winter is still a ways off. Everything balances here now. Down here, summer passes by in the currents. Up there, summer works its way back into the soil. Out there, another storm is pushing winter in a tad bit closer.

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