October at the End of the Otonabee

There’s calling from the grasses.
There’s an urgency before the freeze-up,
gather your nuts and find shelter.
Spooks of slow, twirling vapors
encircle the shoreline.
This water hosts kingfisher
and muskellunge;
the crocodiles of the north.

When these edging trees are bare
come this November breeze,
we will remember rubbing shoulders
with mighty July?
But here now, by the water
everything is grey and brown and gold,
and I see why the wolves,
and hares, and sleepy bears
all look the same.

This drying forest with the quickening streams
is an autumn hiker’s dream
with no summer bugs and no spring mud.
The ducks all quickly lift
from the wide, silver river.
They fly off in the same direction
to return with the early rains.

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