Autumn, and deep into it. Glowing leaves in an absence of light, yellows to envy and a green so lime and bright, so tucked in, a little bit of sheen against the dark richness of the surrounding pines.
Deep into autumn, long past the careening energy of summer, the hustle and bustle, the dragging of children by their dragging parents, trying to force experience into their offspring, the dragging of the masses on holidays, jamming happiness and freedom into their three weeks.
Deep into autumn, the season getting furrowed away into its quiet. The highway traffic steady but not fervent, and above it, over there, the returned chirping of a gray jay, and there a woodcock, there the chickadees flitting around the ambering berry bushes on the hill above the house.
“Did you hear the swans earlier?”
“No, I don’t think so. I heard a flock the other day though. It’s amazing how high they fly!”
“Is it called a flock? “A flock of swans?” I don’t know.”
“I have no idea. It’s a shit-tonne of birds, though. But goddamned they fly higher than anything else I’ve seen.”
Billy looked over his shoulder to judge the distance to the tree behind, took a step back and leaned against the fir tree there. A branch down low pushed his straw hat forward on his brow and he pushed his head back to break the branch, set his hat again where it belonged on his head and relaxed against the trunk of the tree. Jim sat in the grasses close by, his knees drawn up and cradled in his arms. He held one wrist with one hand, and held his knees up with the tension in that hand.