One, the anomaly: the verdant still-green plumes of spruce and young pine amid the ash-gray autumn spines of birch and the bare-boned alder. Another: the sweet-spoiled green smell of the pond marsh, soaked through with algae, cattail, mud sedge and meadowsweet - a richer, darker, more prescient green.

And a third - a gaudy glistening unseasonable green: the nylon Celtics jacket my son wears. Sitting alone by the edge of Sandy Pond, he stares, listening to the anxious geese, the brisk wind, the unseen ministrations in the underbrush - a fragile soon-to-vanish peace on the verge of winter. Preternaturally quiet, hunched over on his stone, the boy scratches at the startling, alluring green of his first poem.

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