> jumping into life.

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This rain smells like autumn. This rain smells of leaf-fall, mulch-mud, wood-fire, and, though impossible, the sea. Even after the rain stops, the air hangs thick with mist and promise. When it clears, just for a moment, the hills across the valley shine in their sudden finery of copper and gold. Even where the leaves cling to their green, it is not the same green as it had been.

We hike in the promise-mist. Scraps of gold and copper litter the trail. Above us, the canopy of leaves still green, but not the green it had been. A tired green, an ending green, even though vibrant still against the mist-bright sky. Even though green and no color else, the shades of fall can be sensed somehow in those leaves. Green that is really gold. Green that is really red, orange, fallen, trampled and turned already back to earth.

Back at home, the kitten waits. She comes running, mewing, full of wiggle and purr. When I look at her, the bottom drops out of my heart. How can anything be so tiny? She is sweet and fierce and fearless, except she fears the road. When she tires of destroying paper bags and stuffed mice, she will climb the full length of my body to balance easily on my shoulder and purr and purr and purr. She will curl in the crook of my arm while I'm reading, and purr and purr and purr. She will wallow in the space between J and I, so thoroughly asleep that we can move her when one of us gets up and she does not wake, but continues to purr and purr and purr. How can anything be so small, so soft, so very tiny? The bottom drops out of my heart, and love pours out, and I am steeped, I am soaked, I am suffused with love and love and love.

And when I read this, the bottom of my heart drops out and I am steeped in, soaked in, suffused with love....

Just grinning, here.

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