The maples are ablaze with color: yellow, orange, red, purple-black. Ferns taller than I form a separate, russet forest beneath the lofty boughs of maritime pine, plantations of which cover the Gascogny Coast. Pine cones and acorns fallen from golden-leafed oaks litter the ground, and pumpkin-orange mushrooms as big as my hand sprout on logs and amidst still-green grass.
Soëlie is getting acquainted with fall, old enough at last to explore on her own. I just wish for her sake (and for mine) the air smelled more consistently of autumn's goodness--mouldering leaves, mushrooms, woodsmoke--instead of the stench of the nearby Smurfit-Kappa's paper mill.