2) Portland took my breath away this year, all dressed up to the nines in the fall livery of its reds and golds and burnished glowing bronzes. Tree-lined avenues and treets glowed with this colour; entire hillsides flowed with it; the sky could not weep enough rain nor be covered with enough heavy gray cloud to take away from it all and in fact it only served to emphasise the unearthly shimmer of these glorious colours. I honestly was not expecting this. It is mid-November - I was expecting far more of the late-autumnal nakedness with trees raising bare black rain-washed arms to the lowering skies. But Portland... took my breath away this year. Naturally, I did not bring my camera. But there were moments this weekend that I all but wept for the lack of one. No matter. I shall carry the colours in my soul. They have made my spirit glad. Thank you, fair city.
3) The weekend was rounded off by a morning drive with joycemocha, who took me to Sauvie Island, along quiet rivers and channels and wetlands lined and covered with those jewel colours of fall. She took me down there to show me where her story "River-kissed", her contribution to the River anthology, took place, and I could see it all unfolding around me as we drove down quiet roads where we were often the only moving thing, past ravaged pumpkin patches where only shattered orange rinds remain, past greenswards covered in geese of various sizes and species including a magic spill of white snow geese, past power lines bearing kestrels and merlins, past swooping ospreys dancing above the waters, underneath autumn's signatures in the skies in the form of long V-shaped streaks of birds driven to their semi-annual migrations (once a flock of swans sailed across the heavens...) We rounded all that off with a nice lunch in a rather steampunky little cafe full of coggy and wheely bits and a bar foot rail consisting of polished iron train rails. A perfect end to a perfect weekend - and my thanks for this, my friend. Thank you for the gift of your time, and for sharing your love of these places and creatures, and for letting me love them a little bit with you today.
4) Train. Rushing into the fading of the day. The light is beginning to go, the golden-leaved trees by the side of the tracks starting to dim into a darkening sky. There are lights beginning to twinkle in distant farm houses and along roads, like small distant stars. The western horizon is still painted with traces of sunset colours, apricot orange-reds and faded pale golds, but November twilight comes. Soon it will be dark, and I will sit here and be carried forward into the night, towards home.
I think I'm beginning to slide into dream and doze. Perhaps I should go and get my cup of coffee, just so that I stay awake and alert for a little while longer. In any event... see y'all when I get back home and get coherent again.