I’ve been ill lately, and a walk always seems to set me right. The old adage of fresh air will do a body good is my medicine. Down by the river today, the trees are a bit damp and form striking vertical lines as you look through the trail. The understory is all spicebushes, and their berries are now a glossy red. I pass a beautiful lion’s mane mushroom and some turkey tails. It’s nice to see some fungi again. I’m fascinated by young black birches right now, which are everywhere, and I often am breaking twigs off and sniffing their wintergreen scent. Through the trees sun sometimes slants in and lights up the golden leaves. The air smells damp and tannic, the smell of wet leaves and acorns, thousands I’ll wager, many cracked and open to the elements.
I can hear the river before I see it, as I slowly walk down the grade to the water’s edge. There is a good breeze and the waves lap rhythmically on the shore. The water chestnuts are dying back, their black devilish pointy seed cases are littered everywhere, and the tuber-like roots form rafts of green that clot the edges of shoreline. An eagle flies to the other side, its bright white tail a giveaway. I hear the kingfisher and its unmistakable chatter overhead. The water is gray and cold looking, the clouds somewhat mackerel in pattern, but thick and quilted. The sun has that black and white quality to it as it shines on the steely water. The whole effect is dynamic yet seemingly colorless.
The bulk of the trees are still green even though you can see a lot of change when you’re in the midst of them. In the distance it’s all still green. Yet–as I look through the trees and further north upriver, I get a good peek of the Catskills caught in a blast of sun and can see how colorful the trees up there were. Certainly, at peak. It is all red and orange, no definition to my eyes, but I can see the whole mountain is now in the throes of autumn.
Currently reading Wildwood by Roger Deakin. The first chapter captivated me. You can really feel his good spirit in all the pages. I am looking forward to reading his other earlier book, Waterlog. Which reminds me that over the summer, I read Akiko Busch’s Nine Ways to Cross a River, and How to Disappear–both recommended.