Tell-Tale Clouds

I awoke to a wider view of the mountains through my loft window. Already, the falling leaves open holes in the forest canopy, bringing the mountains closer. Pink light reflected off a rim of clouds in perfect formation across the upper 500 feet of the ridgeline, like a quilt across the still sleeping peaks. I considered them there, hovering and holding, and nestled deeper underneath the covers of my bed. When I was ready, I stretched my body out long and lean underneath the jersey cotton, yawned, and tried to store that pearlite pink behind my eyes for safekeeping.

And the valley today was alive with change. On my run I dodged falling acorns, buckeyes, white oak leaves, the occasional twig snapped off from a frantic squirrel. The dome of sky remained blue and untainted for the glorious length of daylight, twinkle blue, swimming blue, the blue of invitation. It felt as though the world I walked on was but the floor of a tiny desk globe, leaves dancing down like snowflakes at the shake of hand, the earth moving beneath my feet where small mammals and insects carve their worlds through dark soil tunnels.

By nightfall, the quilt of clouds returns and the blue bowl of sky changes too, sliding into azure then goldenrod purple, then slate gray, now ash in the blink of twilight. We’re supposed to get our first frost tonight, and the quilt clouds mean a cold front for certain. I make hot tea and wear my wool hat indoors for the first time since early spring. Then I sip, and sit, and wait.

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