indian summer

In addition to her poems, I am lucky to possess many essays written by my grandmother when she was in college. This one seems to have been written on a day just like today. Enjoy!
We went hiking today--Bill and I. He's such a wonderful companion to hike with--not as good at walking, for he was tired long before I had decided that it was time to turn back, but just right so far as a partner goes. He knows so well that when I'm tramping briskly along with my hands in my pockets and my eyes straight ahead that I don't want him to say anything. He notices the unusual things along the road--I know he does--but he always lets me mention them first; he knows he's helping my pride that way. He understands that I want to be independent--that I don't want to be helped over fences or carried across puddles, but just the same--sometimes--I don't mind if he does give me a little assistance here and there. That's to help his pride, you know.
The woods were so gorgeous this afternoon. We kicked up the soggy brown leaves covering the ground to find half buried acorns, and sank almost knee-deep in the mire as we missed a slippery log stretched across a two-foot stream. Even though the trees were almost leafless, they didn't seem lonely or desolate, but flaunted their bare arms courageously against the bright blue of the sky. I think they were determined to bid a cheerful farewell to Indian summer, in spite of the bleakness of their own outlook.
Away up on the topmost branch of a tall oak tree, we saw a little ball of fur swaying in the breeze. When we had watched it for a while, it resolved itself into a squirrel busily shelling acorns in preparation for the long winter. Below him, a deserted bird's nest drooped raggedly in a crotch of the tree.
When I finally decided that we had walked far enough, and had done justice to all the beauties of this last Indian summer day, we turned and made a new trail back to Meadville and dinner.