It’s almost November. It smells like wood smoke outside, wood smoke and pungent saltwater and decay. A damp fog chills to the bone, fragile frost crystals gleam and break at first light. Yellow school buses squeal to a stop, whoosh, sigh, swallow children, move on.

It’s almost November. I bring out the boots, the knits, the throw blankets, the scratchy plaid scarf that was Mae’s. I order new books. At the supermarket, wooden crates overflow with carefully and somewhat precariously stacked apple varieties. Honey Crisp, Snow Sweet, Red Delicious, Gala, McIntosh, Cortland, Granny Smith. There are squashes and ciders and pumpkins and ears of dried purple corn. At the coffee shop I drink a hot latte and eat a scone that tastes of orange, ricotta and spiced nutmeg.

After it rains, the grass becomes an emerald velvet cushion. The trees gently lay their jewels upon it: rubies, garnet, topaz, amber and citrine. It’s almost November, and before I know it, this wild riot of color will sleep beneath a blanket of gray and white.