The sun slips into the Scorpion, sign of the Eagle and the Phoenix, and conjures whirlpools down from the Gulf of Alaska, atmospheric rivers from the Pacific. The wildfires are doused. Snow falls in the Cascades. The garden is done; the moldering squash plants pulled. There is rice to bake with wild mushrooms tonight.
We walked down the road, the dog and I, to the park–me treading thoughtfully over the slick moss and fallen leaves strewn across the steep hill, and Mercy straining at her lead to hurry while I braced her. I fell two years ago, catching myself on the right hand while never releasing the leash. My wrist is still tender from taking the brunt of the fall.
The wind whipped hair across my face and then flung it out into the air; a squall broke in cold waves across my bare cheeks. Mercy shook off the rain and rolled in the wet grass. We toured the sodden ground, maskless to the elements and churning cloud, before climbing the hill back home.
We paced two wild turkeys up the hill before us; the dog tested my grip on her leash, but I held her back. The heavy birds gawked back at us every few yards to see if we were gaining ground. They hurried to the verge at the top and took flight for the fir trees.
Swirling bright waves of maple, birch, and oak leaves spun up from the crest as we climbed and crashed down the hill in waves. I closed my eyes against their breaking over us.