On a hill beneath the pines. The wind soughs through them. Joseph reads his book about Japan's invasion of China. Nearby I hear some movement, then a slow old cricket begins to walk up a rock. It is chirping, but it is very faint, like something gone wrong, very slow. It is no longer summer, it is nearly winter, and the crickets time is almost over.
I walk up the hill and take in the view. On the mountain the deciduous trees end in a brown haze, and dark evergreens go up and over the top. There is a steep hill nearby, tree-covered, like a Japanese landscape. The brown haze covers that hill too, with a few dark green patches. The light is strange. The clouds break over only one spot, and the light stays there, a spotlight. Then another break opens, and a further hill is illuminated. Up at the top of the road, sunlight suddenly appears. I walk towards it, and pause to take in the warmth. The wind has an edge to it today, and fog hangs in low areas. Down at the house again, the air is warm under the low ceilings. On the wood cookstove is a little cast iron kettle, and steam slowly fills the room. I look back and wonder at how I came to be here, on the side of this mountain, up a dirt road, here in the middle of Vermont. It is a place where tea cools slowly over the hour is it drunk, and people forget about what time it is.