I walked the riverbottom with two dapple-legged dogs, one brindle, one red. They ranged and jogged, loped and laughed with wagging tails and smiling dog faces and we walked through the trees among the fallen leaves on the edge of the water.
The river swirled deep and looked smooth as glass, black as night, a mirror of the sunlit trees streaking orange and red and rust.
Sunlight blasted through the half-bare trees and lit the opposite bank, big leaf maples and massive cottonwoods and twisted oaks and drowsy willows shining like bronze and copper and gold and rust, the topaz and citrine shades of autumn. Firs and cedars stand swallowing the day in their dark spires, the tallest trees reaching a hundred feet towards the sun.
Trees sing a song best when there is more than one kind of tree in the forest. The high pines and junipers sing whispery and lonely, the oak grove groans and creaks and rumbles, cedars and firs have deep dark voices like the misty rain. Maples and cottonwoods and aspens rattle and laugh and catch the sunlight in their boughs, and the willow dances and weeps. Together they make a complimentary orchestra, of many temperaments and moods, and many voices.
The dirt on the river's shoulders is dark and slick, and covered with giant leaves from the maples, yellow and orange-speckled leaves more than a foot across, shaped like symmetrical hands. The wind gusted and the trees sang and the leaves cascaded around me and two laughing dogs.