Autumn Dusk

With no snow, our late autumn Vermont appears like coals burned out, none of our summer’s radiance, our snowy luminosity. This afternoon, not yet four, with the light already leaking away, I lay down in my daughter’s forest lair, dead logs propped up against an enormous white pine. While she wandered away, busily scavenging planks for a footbridge over a culvert with a running stream, I lay back on the pine needles and closed my eyes.

The afternoon was extraordinarily still, with not even a stir of wind, a chatter of chipmunk. I smelled mud, that thick, humusy scent of forest floor opened up. Still waiting, I opened my eyes and, through a part in the branches overhead, saw three crows traveling across the gray, cloudy sky, their wings steadily flapping, quite possibly not at all disturbed by the night falling down and the dearth of glow. And that, perhaps, might be the flight of autumn across our sliver of the world.

A lone crow
sits on a dead branch
this autumn eve

— Basho





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