On the ride down to the house from Springfield, I found myself in the rare company of clouds dramatic, low, seemingly close enough to touch. Black beneath, breaking open to glimpses of a dozen, a hundred, shades of blue and gray.

Ladders of light reached out in all directions. Under a ruler-straight line on the horizon, a blaze of impossible red. The kind of sky one is tempted to pull over to watch. A sky for which the broadest camera lens would be inadequate.

The autumn doesn’t blaze in the Ozarks; it smoulders. It whispers in muted voices, nature simply turning in for the night, without drama. Tonight, the sun lit up the trees like a forest fire and made canyons of shadows. Tonight, I knew why sight is company, friendship and wonder.