The other night, one of the dogs rolled over in its sleep and fell off the bed.
The crash woke me up, though it didn’t seem to disturb the dog. The moon was shining, even brighter for the veil of clouds around it.
It was one of the restless hours — a few minutes after 2 — when thoughts come alive the way forks and knives used to do in the old cartoons after the humans had gone to bed.
I’ve been thinking about the way autumn has stolen upon us.
When the first leaves turn — a roadside maple in August — it’s easy to ignore the coming season. But now all the trees are turning in concert, rushing to a foregone conclusion.
I’m struck by how silently it happens.
The pastures have gone quiet at night. The tree crickets have done for the year. I keep listening anyway, as if I might hear some faint cellular music as the leaves lose their green.
The trees themselves seem to have gathered around the house so that I can feel just how silent they really are.
Only the wind makes them speak.
Then I begin to brood about my ugly apples, which weigh down the three heirloom trees along the driveway. They are crabbed and tumored and scarred, and their skins are dry and scaled, like the face of the moon.
But inside they’re as bright as moonlight, and small as they are, they taste enormous. I’ll pick these hundreds of apples, put up some of them in one form or another (apple syrup!) and wish, in this pigless year, that I had pigs to share the windfall with.
And that is as far as I get before one of the dogs yawns aloud and the moon slips out of the window frame, and we all wink out again.