Typically the passing of October leaves us skinless and showing only the rough bones of November's boughs and branches. But this year our blood is still pumping, red and fragrant as cinnamon stirred into hot cider, red as the blush on a virgin's cheek, red as red was meant to be. Everywhere I turn, every path we take, we are surrounded by the most glorious shades of red, in the shrubs and trees, single glowing leaves hidden among the still-green grass, red in the misted moon, red in the eyes of the jack-o-lanterns that have burned in our windows. Just outside my patio there is the most brilliant bush, a red like none other I've seen, a red that appears only in faerie tales or comic books. On our way to the park, now mostly naked and exposed, we pass several bushes that look as if they've been baked in beets, jellied in cranberries and roasted over a fire of hot peppers. They smell Christmas sweet and their leaves are still strong, still clinging tightly to their delicate branches. They are lost kisses, caught by the wind and blown far off course, snagged in the sticky brittle fingers of Autumn. They are the flattened bodies of ticks grown fat on blood sweetened with the meat of fresh, ripe cherries. Two red guards have taken up their posts outside The Glen, short and fat, they are dwarfs, small and cute, but as serious as a Russian tragedy. One stands at attention, rigid and stern, the other seems to flit as restlessly as a flame.
And my red dog is there to share them with me.