By Jeremy Wade Shockley
Nature is most powerful in its twilight. I take in the beauty of a fading autumn, the brittle nature of my surroundings, noting the coolness in the air. I feel a strong connection with my past, and a deeper tie to the earth this time of year.
The Vallecitio Valley of my youth is a product of hard work, heavy with the smell of earth and the approaching cold. Today is warmer than any day we are likely to see between now and spring. I will soon shed my long flannel shirt and felt brimmed hat, setting them safely to the side. The silence of nature is amplified, a calm before the storm.
I approach the land with respect; tactically setting the gas powered saw across some downed timber. Mentally gathering myself, physically prepared. The sound of the saw is the sound of the season; the hard work is a reflection of the past. The pine smell is intoxicating; sweat stings my eyes. I feel good.