the edge of fall

The bridge over Lake Creek in fall, near the visitor center where I work (the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve in Grand Teton National Park).

With the first frosts of the season, and snowfall high in the mountains making rock climbers wish they were mountaineers, summer is officially over. I’m feeling on edge; I’ve got to go back to school in 12 days, and I’m trying desperately to not start mentally counting down. I want to live in the here, right now, and enjoy the minutes as they come. I’m reading Winter: Notes from Montana by Rick Bass, and one of his essays catches my mood exactly:

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OCTOBER 18. The days are falling back, going so quickly, and yet each one is filling us up so full. Last year I didn’t know what a merganser was, and this year there is one on the pond across the road.

Everything’s going on, back in the woods behind the house. I found mountain lion tracks in a puddle. When I look at the trees, they’re still standing the same way, waiting for winter. They’re ready.

Late in the afternoon, there’s a period when the light turns so strange, so bronze and still, that it’s like a tintype—as if it’s trying to hold that angle of light for as long as it can, for us to look at the fields and woods and meadows in that sharp light one last time before falling away. One last time…

And we look. We stand there, in honor of the light, and just look. Birds call in the woods, flickers and thrushes, and my life seems about to speak to me, that sense of waiting, of promise, is so strong. (pp. 71-72)

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