what I love about fall


November 7.  We are in the week of the most colorful leaves, and in the main garden the brightest star is the O’Henry. The leaves of the peach beside it have barely yellowed while O’ Henry’s have achieved unanimous dazzle. As I watch, a gust of wind sweeps through and scatters handfuls of curling parentheses across the grass, leaving the tree noticeably less clothed. I can see the slender skeleton of brown-pink twigs that will soon be the tree.

This is what I love about fall – the mixture of ephemeral and flamboyant that wakes us up to beauty in one moment and blows it away in the next. Perfectly appropriate preparation for winter, to feel this astonished wonder as we dig out the long johns, stack firewood, and begin to turn inward along with the peach trees.

In other ways, fall is the beginning – especially, with so much early rain this year, it’s a promising start to the fungi season. Already I’ve seen some of the mushrooms I know, like rosy Russulas and tasty little puffballs, some I need to look up to remember, like the noble Stropharia ambigua, and many in the l.b.m. (little brown mushroom) category I don’t even try to identify. Last night I sautéed a lovely fat Agaricus campestris to add to dinner. One more rain and perhaps the boletes will fruit. When I walked over to the woods yesterday to check likely spots, I encountered the rising vernal pond, fallen Oregon ash leaves dappling its surface, eager chorus frogs at its edges. Another beginning. 

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