That Cold Dead Time

The sky is gray with scuddy clouds, no shadows, no brights on the landscape. Yet everything looks new and open, because now you can see into the woods. The maple, birch, and most of the oak leaves have fallen leaving the ground brown and crunchy looking, perfect to show off stone walls and granite ledges with their multi-colored grays, blues, and greens. When you come upon some color--the red berries of sumac, shocking green moss on rocks, pale leaves remaining on beech trees--why it's kind of a thrill to behold. This is one of my favorite times of year in New Hampshire, that cold dead time before the first snow.