Honey-colored light filters through the hardwoods on this, the first cool morning of the season. The hickory leaves, near chartreuse as newborns in April, are a tired olive after the sear of summer. It’s a transitionary shade, the first subtle strokes from autumn’s palette. Soon they’ll turn vibrant orange, fairly glowing amid the rusty browns, reds, and purples of the oaks.
Hidden in the forest canopy, I hear a gray squirrel’s incisors — those robust teeth that are the calling-card and tool of trade for the rodents — cutting through the thick hull of a hickory nut.