Before dawn the stars sparkle like diamonds on ebony. The air is crisp and clear. The sky slowly turns to pewter streaked with rose and vermillion as the sun breaches the horizon, a horizon hidden behind the mountain looming above.
Down slope, gray tendrils probe the trees like fingers. As the air warms, the fingers tow a bank of silvery mist up from the valley floor, swallowing trees. Closer creeps the moist oblivion until visibility is just a stone's throw. The air is heavy. Walking in the woods, a pocket envelops you, everything mutes to shades of gray. Stillness prevails.
As suddenly as it came, it lifts, leaving the woods below clear, the tree tops above still shrouded by wads of silver cotton – almost within reach.
The grayness continues to climb, pausing to sit along the ridge, gathering strength before leaping clear to drift with its brethren. Puffy clumps rise from each mountain crest, melding into fleecy communities, soaring, sailing, drifting on the breeze.
Some turn dark gray, pregnant with moisture. Giving birth to life-giving rain, rejuvenating woods, fields, rivers.
Wave farewell to this generation, knowing a fresh brood will come through again in the unending cycle of rain, flow, mist, rise. Part of life in the mountains.
Photo: Mountain forest-fall_by Itai Minovitz Photography