Place Where You Live:

South Strafford, Vermont

An evening a week ago, enticed out here by the rise of the full harvest moon over the mountain, we’d left dinner simmering on the stove, our conversation cut short by the sight—as it is this stunning, blue-sky morning, sitting here sipping coffee, horses in the meadow below.

The gelding stands sideways to receive the full warmth of the sun, outer tips of his mane and tail, fetlocks and topline, back-lit golden. He moves only to shift his weight from one hoof to the other. The cadence of his breathing, visible in puffs of mist that steam in steady intervals from his nostrils. His pasture-mate grazes nearby.

Around them, the slow turn of seasons. Maple, birch, and ash stretch their limbs over the edgeland scrub, their shadow longer these days; their leaves now mottled brown and yellow, with hints of orange and red.

In the foreground, a greyed, lichen-spattered fence, and this side of it, my weathered garden glistens—spider webs and shrubs strung with wispy shawls of sunlit dew. Crickets chirp in the still-green grass. There too, the hum of bumblebees and chit chat of finch and chickadees as they poke around in tiny, shimmering pools in crevices of leaves and flower petals. Multi- winged insects float by like satellites with no discernible destination, passing over asters and straggly blooms of phlox. The crowns of sedums have turned from light green to pink to burgundy—mounds of autumn joy, approaching peak.

I wonder what I could be, what the whole world could be, if everyone began their day by listening to the morning, then concocting their own such litany, using whatever language suits the news from their senses—words, color, music, movement, thought. All around us every morning, there they’d be, fleeting sheaves of sights and smells and sounds, some familiar and some so strange that you or I might not recognize or think to include them. And wouldn’t that be the beauty of it? That, and the possibility these tidings, whether shared or kept private, might whisper back to us later sometime?