October Light

Archive Photo of the Day: Ted Merrihew

Archive Photo of the Day: Ted Merrihew

I’m so grateful to all of you who once again put us over the top in our fall fundraiser. It was strange for me to be away during this time, watching from afar while you and all my colleagues here demonstrated that the world continues to turn even while I’m not working the crank.

Instead this year, I was a guest of the Adirondack Center for Writing, cranking out lines of poetry in the Anne LaBastille Memorial Writer Residency. Here are some lines I may have been writing in the library of the Twitchell Lake Inn at the same moment you made your gift. Consider them quid pro quo.

October Light

It comes first from the north. After setting the Gatineau Hills aflame,
it burns south across the broad valley. It comes first at the timberline,
then pours down the mountain shoulders toward bog and pond like lava.
It blares out of the east at sunrise and smolders west at close of day.

It comes from above, painting the waterside trail like the aisle beneath
a stained glass window — lemon and crimson, an hallucinatory shade
of vermillion, each leaf charting a different path from green to brown,
single pixel in a gob-smacking tableau of river, lake and mountain.

It sifts down, collecting in drifts like golden snow, ashine above, aglow
below, aflare on scented air. Nowhere here the light doesn’t touch.
Nowhere the wind doesn’t stir paint on the marbled ground.
Nothing that doesn’t glimmer from the shadows or gleam in the sun.

It burns day after day, week after week, until all of summer’s fuel
is spent. Just here and there a thin brown banner of oak leaves
blows, a few yellow coins quiver on the birch, a few withered apples
on a limb. Then one dawn–all gone, turned to a blank white page.


2 Comments on “October Light”

  1. Helene vanderburgh says:

    Thank you, Dale. Beauty and change are so had that find words for. You have done so.

  2. Elaine Zack says:

    You made me see it all! Beautiful. I miss seeing my Adirondacks at this time of year, even though I’m happy with my move to Wisconsin to be near kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids. Thanks for that gift of beautiful writing that, indeed, made me see it all!

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