It’s midnight or more in the woods, and my mind is waking up. Sleep, I say, while darkness holds the world at bay and at least outside my window quietness reigns. What is it about the midnight hour? What is it about this wondrous hour that should knock me out cold but rather starts a racetrack of information zooming back and forth through my tired mind, waking bizarre demons and scary scenarios too hard for daylight consideration? What is it?

For hours I have been nodding off and yearning for that appropriate time to lay down and let sleep overwhelm me for the day and then the “big eye” descends and I am nowhere near the sleep that I long to have. I sometimes feel that I can read this wonderful mystery until sunup, or scribble such nonsense as this until words simply fail to form in my mind.

I remember in my college days reading about mystics and philosophers who seemed to thrive in that midnight hour with tapers burning low – how they reported such clarity of thought that seemed impossible to summon in the light of day. I used to think that perhaps working at this strange time of night would produce my best work, that inspiration would, as it had reportedly done for others, lead me to deep insights or at least the grasping of some ancient philosophic principle that I would be able to write about on tomorrow’s quiz.

Alas, what I remember best as a benefit of studying or working in the small hours were the unavoidable consequences of sleep deprivation. In that regard, nothing has changed over the years, except that I don’t resist it anymore.

I’ll begin a new story tonight. It seems promising. God, I love a mystery. I could reconsider the meaning of life, or ponder a question I have always been fond of: Is there a tangible existence in the afterlife? Will there be golden streets and jeweled gardens or if anything at all, just earth, wind and fire? . . . Mercy, but it’s late!

DRIVING DOWN THE HIGHWAY this past weekend we marveled at the many shades of green that this season provides. It is only for a brief time that such a display is available, but while it lasts don’t hesitate to get your green fix.

Not long and all the greens will look the same dark and ubiquitous “oak leaf” hue. Except for the normal varietal variances in color the woods will seem all of a single dark and rich green.

Then, as the days wear on, the greens take on that dusty dull look of maturity and begin to think of decorator colors and leaving town altogether.

Fall is why we endure January. In autumn lies the hope of new life, fertile ground and harvest to come.

All that lies behind the many shades of green we now enjoy as we drive down the road to places and friends we love.