Out on the long walk today, the rains having let up but the breezes still blowing from the trailing remnants of the storm (The Monster Nor’Easter That Ate Hurricane Ida), the woods and fields weren’t too wet – you could walk through the overgrown fields of pine without getting soaked by the turnstiles of the lower boughs. On the jeep trail plastered with oak leaves, with the air beginning to turn a little milder, there was a strangely pleasant vista of almost nothing but fallen light brown leaves converging ahead with the light gray sky – duotone all the way (except the occasional scrubby evergreen in the margins of the woods made it more like a tritone). Because of all the rain and wind we’ve been having (it’s raining again, very close to sunset – this storm doesn’t know the word quit), something about this ordinarily very dull vision of brown and gray felt happy and bright. As Flint and I got down toward the Rivanna, we heard the railroad at the Preddy Creek crossing less than a mile downstream – a singular definite roar I took to mean an Amtrak passenger train, versus the bumpy and elongated rumble of a freight.
I’ve seen many admirable paintings of this kind of dim gray-brown late fall or winter scene, but something is missing in them generally. It’s true that in what I saw and heard, nowhere was there visual evidence of any bright color – a broad swath of brilliant red or a line of electric turquoise. Yet it was there – I saw it anyway. My advice is, don’t let November fool you.