Every season has a different feeling. Now the light has changed, it’s thinner and weaker. On the Wild Basin trail, carpeted with fragments of aspen leaves, the air is sweet with vegetation that is crumbling, devolving into something else—an organic process that finishes a cycle, so there is a satisfying feeling. The winds are strong and decisive, yet the sun and air are warm enough to please, to relax into. It feels refreshing, like a long sip of apple cider, something cool, energizing. Bittersweet.
For a short time, before it snows, everything is revealed. On the trail along the creek, I can see the cliff faces and rocky hillsides that were obscured by the aspen leaves. As North St. Vrain creek recedes, I can see boulders that were thrown around in last year’s floods and tree trunks that were pulled down into the river bed. Along the creek’s edge, the water is low enough that a bed of rock has emerged, rock that is softer and paler than the boulders around it, as if it came from somewhere else, rose up from the river, which had been hiding it. Working over time, the water has sculpted pale ridges and bowls.
Above Copeland Falls, where the water churned during spring runoff, the lower waters have revealed clear pools, rounded red, gold, yellow, gray rocks, even a green tint too subtle to be visible in spring and summer’s rushing waters.
The woods are darker now, the sun lower, with fewer aspen leaves to shed their glow, so what is left shines out of the darkness, and that’s what I look for, what catches my eye. Glimpses of light in the darkness: the spotlight on a single aspen tree and the rough face of the granite boulder; the golden tips of the grasses caught in the dwindling sunlight; the lone shimmering aspen among the ponderosas.