I love the hiking/biking trail that goes through our neighborhood. I like to walk in the early evening, when the heat loses its grip on the day, and the woods are alive with the chatters and chirps of many little creatures. Today on my walk there were joggers, bikes, scooters, people on the phone, groups of friends, and a man, iPod in ears, singing to himself in a language I did not understand. Bike wheels spoke, “thump thump thump” over the wooden footbridge, then, “hissssss” on the paved trail as I walked along.
I can tell that fall is approaching, even though the air is still hot and dry, and the trees are starting to crisp from lack of rain. The sunlight has changed – golden honey dripping through the branches, catching up loose leaves in its flow and scattering them on the ground. On the last part of my walk I saw a medium sized buck standing away from the path, in a patch of sunlight near a stand of oak trees. As I passed him he heard the whisper of grass under my feet, and he looked up, chewing. For that moment, there was no one else on the trail. The grasshoppers fiddled melodies, and somewhere a clock ticked closer to autumn. The oak trees understood, and released a fall of acorns. They rained down in the sunlight in front of the deer. A sprinkle. A nutstorm.
Then it passed, as storms do. The trail traffic resumed, the deer looked away, and I walked past, to the road that leads to my house.