Our days this week have been a series of blue crystal beads strung on the necklace of autumn, clear, and perfect, and catching the sunlight on every faceted surface.
The sun sits at a lower angle in the sky at this time of year, and its light is different. It catches the edges of things, outlining every newly-bared branch in phosphourous white, shining through coloured leaves as if lighting a cathedral window, plating the trunks of alder and cottonwood with platinum and gold, and brightening the woodland's mossy velvet into vivid green, delightfully detailed miniature forests.
Geese fly low in the sky, their chests and under-wings highlighted by the almost-horizontal rays, soft and smooth as old burnished pewter, each feather clearly visible, seeming so close that I might reach out and touch them. They are headed to the estuary to feast on rich grasses and small fish.
Along the roadsides, heavy dew clings to the delicate red branches of huckleberry bushes, the tiara-crowned remains of Queen Anne's lace, and tall, gold stocks of grass. It glints and sparkles with bright light and miniature rainbows as I walk by.
Farm fields are almost impossibly green - the kind of emerald attributed to Ireland - born of recent rain and new growth; lush, abundant, they roll into hillocks and tumble into dells as they follow the shape of the land. Now and again I spot a small gathering of deer, breakfasting in the fields, at leisure in the sunshine.
The lake is polished glass, perfectly mirroring both the clear sky above and the hills and trees around it, the stillness broken at the edges by gatherings of ducks. The reeds at the water's edge are busy with red winged black birds. Remarkably quick, they flit from spot to spot, lighting for only a moment before moving on.
It is cool enough this morning to make my fingers tingle and to chill the tip of my nose bright pink. I'm grateful for my warm hat and wishing for my camera, left behind this morning to encourage me to simply pause and enjoy what's been given us. And I am enjoying it. There is so much to see, to hear, to experience that my walk has left me with the same feeling of fullness I experience when pushing my chair back from the table after a good meal. It's a luxury, this feeling.
My pace slows as I walk, and it takes me much longer to make my way back to the house than it did to leave it. My pulse slows, my mind quiets, and my spirits lift. The tight fist of tension I held within me unfurls, and my spirit opens fingers, then hands, then arms to the glory of the day. This is not the surge of excitement a person feels when embarking upon a new adventure, but it is joy; the quiet kind that sneaks up on you, the kind you suddenly realize, regard with mild amazement, and treasure before it slips away again, as fleeting as the blackbird's flight. And like the blackbird, I will remember its quicksilver presence again and again throughout the day.
I wish you joy today too, and moments of brightness and beauty. I hope you feel their darting presence wherever you are today, and that you're able to pause a moment to let them lighten your heart.