November 23


The sun finally rises—after breakfast, after tea, after dishwashing—and I putter outside to test the air. This morning, the sky is particularly beautiful: pink and purple clouds rushing in the wind. Looking west and breathing in the leafy-sweet smell of the river takes me even farther away, to a memory of a summer day in Taos, New Mexico, walking streamside underneath cottonwood trees. There are massive cottonwoods here, too, three of them looming over the brook. The neighborhood pheasant often struts in their shade.

Looking up at this late point in the season, instead of those western, diamond-shaped leaves, I see massive brooches of mistletoe. How will I climb up these trunks to retrieve one? Everyone else seems to have already gotten the jump on Christmas—festive lights along the city lanes, garlands in the library, holiday bookings on restaurant signboards. Without Thanksgiving to delay its onset, the winter spirit arrives early in Cambridge.


Reader’s Note: Every day for the next couple of weeks, we’ll be presenting new entries from “Along the River Cam.” Check here for the latest post.

Permission required for reprinting, reproducing, or other uses.

Charlotte Salley is a former assistant editor of the Scholar.


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