There are things you notice when you are alone in the woods for any period of time, when there are no radio or tv sounds, no one else talking, no distractions.
You notice the sound of the land.
In the spring, the shoots pushing through the earth are almost audible. Rain hitting the path has a comforting tap. Barks from dogs racing through the woods after squirrels or rabbits or a fox are amplified.
In the fall, there is a “puff” as leaves separate from their branches and join the debris on the forest floor.
At first, it’s another background sound, softer than bird calls or distant highway noises. Soon, without a breath of breeze, one lands at your feet. There is a soft crackle as it settles. The leaves are falling, layer upon layer, one at a time, until the ground is no longer green with moss or grass, but brown. Textured, crunchy. Home for special insects until spring, then decaying to nourish the soil.
The leaves are falling.
Watching them is one of the gifts of alone.