We are well into fall, and most of the trees on the farm have disrobed, leaving their hardened skeletons to chatter at one another through another blustery winter. On several long drives over the past weeks I've been struck by the subtle shifts in foliage that accompany descent and ascent, the confluence of temperature and time that shape the colors of autumn - drop into the Hudson valley, and the trees are two weeks behind, still merry in their reds and aflame in their oranges.
Last spring, out hunting turkey, a bobcat padded through the morning woods, twenty feet from where my brother and I sat. Its gray ears twitched at my brother's whisper, and it turned and vanished silently back into the trees.
I heard little from the coyotes last year, but of late their eerie yips and howls have filled the night, exciting a frenzy in the village dogs and keeping me from sleep with thoughts of our calves. Last week I saw one at midday work slowly through my neighbor's pasture, stalking and pouncing after mice.