Photos taken at Mount Saint Hilaire, Quebec, not the journey I write about below, but the images are appropriate!

Bewitched, bedazzled, amidst trees that reflect gold, russet, yellow, red, orange, brown. Hues without count. Colours that have transformed the countryside into a wonderland. I am on a train, moving through bog, marsh, stream, lake, pond. Cliff, meadow, rock. Branches have fallen into the water, branches rise out of the water. Grass, and moss covered rock – green-black. Tracts of bare, exposed earth – black-brown. The leaves are thick on the ground and cover the ledges of roofs.

Water reflects sky, at times dissolving it, at times giving it clarity.

There is still some green to be found in this landscape, the green of late late summer; and grey, black and silver tree bark. Without these reference points, would my spirit not become one with the scenery? It would be easy to loose oneself in this surfeit of colour. A welcome erasure.

Behold the leaves in the act of falling, drifting! They seem so delicate and fragile, yet each seems complete in itself. Unique. Having served their purpose, they fall gently to their rest. To be pinned to a branch one moment and down on the ground a few heartbeats later. What a change of perspective that must be! I am sure, somehow, that they don’t mind going, down onto the ground, moist from last night’s rain.

Some nearly naked trees with a few, dry, curled-up leaves still attached to the branches. As the breeze blows through, they dance. How entrancing, this nature’s version of the dance of the seven veils. The words “I love you” form on my lips and phantom hands extend to caresses the fine-veined leaves.

Soon these leaves too will drift down and clothe the earth.

Stretches of field, with a dwelling – near or far. A faint blue line of mountains against the horizon.

Suddenly a blaze of gold, followed by a dazzle of orange. Low hills covered in forests of colour. Oh fall, you have dressed the trees and the forest so splendidly!

A vast inland sea lapping at our feet – Lake Champlain.

A bird high up in the clear blue sky. Egrets sitting on stones that are poking out of the water. Graceful and watchful.

Meditation and water, colour and ecstasy.

I could never tire of this landscape. This is my most enchanted train journey. Montreal to New York and back, on the Adirondack – eating and breathing fall for 12 straight hours. I had thought it would be too long, but a trip through paradise, getting drunk on the season’s inimitable beauty, is outside the bounds of clockwork time. I understand that expression – getting drunk on beauty – as never before, today.

The light is mellow, warm and liquid. It fills me with delight. I rejoice. I rejoice! I ignore the smoke stacks, the appearance at times of buildings, vestiges of civilization – so-called. I can ignore civilization from here. Fall fills me so entirely that I cannot attend to anything else. Perhaps this is how a Bhakti poet or a Sufi saint feels when they talk about union with God, with the Universe.

Such inexpressible beauty! Ah there I go again. Another cliché that I can now fathom entirely. (And yes, all the while I am writing!) We humans are given to expression, are we not?

This is nature playing Holi. I had such a desire, a longing, to see these colours, to be drenched in them. And I have been granted that wish.

I am replete.

Thank you Life. Thank you premeditation. Thank you immensely.

Written on 24 October, 2011.