I really think that if everyone in the world could do what I just did we might have peace in our time – or at least get closer to it. October is the best of months for West Virginia, and this October day, late as it comes, is an absolute jewel. The sky is clear blue and far away. Even now as I look west the only white in the sky is the tiny scar of the contrails of some jet headed north, probably to Pittsburgh. The sun has been brilliant all day, but not hot. It’s sweatshirt and jeans weather. My wife and I just walked the water-tower hill where the city arboretum stands. It’s not much of a production. I like it that way; productions attract crowds. I don’t think any of the original signs have survived the decade or so since they were nailed up to identify the trees, but the trees are there, in all their stately glory. And in the early evening sunlight, their leaves, now golden, are so lit up that it appears the light is coming from within them – like they burn with inner fire.
As we walk over beds of pine needles, the scent of pine rises up, clean and sharp. Under the shadows of the great trees, we hear squirrels jumping from branch to branch. As we come out from under the canopy, the evening is bright and quiet. We see a few robins foraging in the grass and wonder how many days before they leave us for parts south.
On the front porch I face into the sunset. The sun is only one hand above the horizon now and I sit in the last warmth of the day, breathing deeply, drinking in the last of the perfect autumn evening.