Mid-November, and color in these woods along the base of the Blue Wall has mellowed to taupe, burgundy, umber, mustard, and saffron. The smell of leaves is dry, dusty, nutty, slightly sweet. It is as comforting as the smell of toast coming from Grandmother’s kitchen. Different than the equally wonderful decay and fungus-y smell of a damp year, because this will be remembered as a year with No Rain. And the leaves drift down. They filter with a light smacking noise through thin outer branches, landing with a soft patter that sounds exactly like rain. Oak leaves cover maple leaves that covered sourwood leaves, and below that, the ragged remains of last year’s canopy melt into sweet earth. A gentle breeze rocks the leaves like a baby in a cradle as they drift down, down, down, dancing with the breeze. Here, this toddler tree has lost its last leaves and threads of gossamer web catch sunlight, like a lightly tinseled Christmas tree waiting for ornaments. I'm thankful to be outside, and present, at such a beautiful time of year. ~K