Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Late fall, and silence drops down over the landscape like a silver net, light and beautiful. Different from the crystalline hush that precedes and follows the snowfalls of winter this silence is moving - like waves on the deep ocean, like the fish beneath the surface - and alive.

Birds dip and soar, paddle and stride; leaves crisp down in the stillness of the afternoon; cabbage moths in pas de deux dot the air over the un-rippled water of the Reach; beneath the sand water seeps silently back as the tide ebbs. In the house sunlight melts like butter down the walls of quiet rooms; outside the windows clouds drift and cross.

This is a lullaby of quiet, a symphony of silence that only happens now in the uncluttered, generous pause between the jogger pace of summer and the magisterial progress of winter. It's a rambling time - a time to walk slowly on moss-muffled paths, to breathe grape-and-smoke-scented air, to feel the thinning sun in every pore and to lift the face to the sky.

By day the woods are awash in color: red and gold, ochre, purple, crimson, orange and magenta - nothing held back. The confettied quiet honors the beauty of a single leaf swinging slowly down on the breeze, the clutch of snowy mushrooms where the wire fence ends in a tangle and one bright aster along the road. At night the fingernail moon tips toward Jupiter, the horse roams his star-lit field, leaves drip and the sea hushes along the shore.

The silence is reverential like that of a church or a museum. It's a silence in which sudden sounds don't startle so much as intrude - a silence that, for a time, allows the hum of activity and strife to settle like leaves onto moss: comfortable, companionable, demanding nothing, dispensing grace.