Oak leaves: white, black,
red to scarlet and bur
to prickly bristles
and back, bringing out
the myriad accents
and turns of a phrase.
The summer fades behind you,
as late one morning you
look up from your work,
and the sound of the leaves
is suddenly drier, higher
in pitch, and your thoughts
naturally turn from arcane theory
to the facts and practice of shelter
and the coming cold.
Far away in the mountains
it is already snowing, and
a deep and uneasy quiet descends
upon all the passes heading South.
Did they cross safely
to the other side?
The crows know that this is when
the pulse and flow of rivers ease, and
the orchestra of strings stops,
now listening, to tune and tune
again, sensing the hushed sway
of trunks in the spruce forests
of the far North.
How broad and slowly the
waves of wind pass through
the crowns of tall trees.
A hoketus of shrill cries marks
the crows' departure, as an empty
branch bobs nervously about;
arched back, a quick trill
of the paws, and
the gray squirrel has
stashed another piece of gold.
(Photo:North American Oaks, Looking West; the middle of October, North America)
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