The last warmth of Indian Summer has gone from the air, the last golden leaves have dropped from the maples, the smell of bonfires is no longer pungent; yet every country-bred American, I fancy, knows what I mean when I say that the Thanksgiving season has a peculiar, a unique charm. From the Tennessee Cumberlands north to Canada leaves have fallen and lie restless on the ground, not yet shrivelled nor rotted, but crisp beneath the foot and in the morning indescribably fragrant with frost. The sky has lost its autumn clarity; there is a touch of lead in it, a hint of gathering winter storms. Out in the bare, brown fields a few corn-shocks stand, and perhaps now and then a golden pumpkin; and already the crows and the pheasants have discovered this food supply. The deep woods are very still. The insect under-song of Summer has died in the grass, the bird songs in the trees. Only the wiry little cheeps of the chickadees are heard in the woods, or now and then the distant blows of a woodpecker or the startled uprush and booming flight of a partridge. The woodchucks have dug themselves in for the Winter. The squirrels have already hoarded their nuts, though occasionally you will see one sitting on a pine stump shredding a cone. Occasionally, too, you will see ahead a strange glint of light and come upon a maple tree so well protected that it has not yet lost its golden foliage. On a leaden November day it seems for all the world like a burst of sunshine down the forest aisle.
Green trails and upland pastures
By Walter Prichard Eaton