There is a fire starting in the forest. The late sun touches the tallest tips of branches and the golden light spreads down a hundred feet. Ready leaves ignite in a flame of burnt orange, amber, and pastel yellow. Autumn is just starting to appear. I have been in Vermont for a month and a half. I feel that I have learned all that the people I am with can teach me, but the trees and the land have just started to lecture. Which color belongs to which leaf and which leaf belongs to which tree? All the sudden I have to know; I desire to know. Something hidden deep within the earth sprouted and grew up while waiting for me to find it. A tree of silver, a copper bark. These are things of another place calling out to me, trying to teach me something . I am ashamed now to have ever sat and pondered under a tree without knowing its name, without first being properly introduced.
Here, there are hills of great trees as far as the eye can see. Purple has sprouted on the hilltops. Like an army moving toward an invasion, I can see the signs but I stand paralyzed, foolishly unprepared. I do not even know the ground underneath my feet. On this September day I sit in the shade of a Sugar Maple by a weather-stained barn. The grass is dry and soft with hundreds of seedlings around me. Tiny pines, tiny ferns, small clovers all looking up at me saying, “Don’t you know who I am?”
In the field are flowers of yellow, with individual purple clovers spotting the scene. And there is one small flower of golden red. I have never seen it before, and yet, it seems to know its place in this world more confidently than I. One glorious reddened flower enjoying the breeze and the sunshine on an Autumn day.