Slipped and slid my way over a floor of leaves into the creek bottom, bent like I was crawling through a tunnel, lashed by peeling birches, tangled up in red willow switches and prickled by Oregon grape. My feet are not as sure, nor am I as agile as I once was. The sun went down quick, but lingered at the tops of the cedars. It was good to hear the friendly voice of the creek. The color is nearly off the trees but hangs on, slow to give in this year.