Sunday, October 10, 2010

a fall day

There are so many leaves already down and blown about that today's very warm weather seems just the slightest bit eerie. There is a stillness - I could wax on about a final intake of summer breath before winter really settles in (five months of it) - but maybe the stillness isn't so much an evident calm as an absent sound. By this I mean that in such warm weather, we're listening for summer -- for the rustling of green leaves overhead, for certain bugs and birds and the constant underlying susurrus of abundant life. Now, many of the trees are already bare or nearly so. Robins are massing for migration and many birds have started moving south. The tomatoes are ripening -- hooray! -- but the gardens are mostly spent for the season. And it's a Saturday, so my bike ride home from the office mid-day was not marked by traffic's noise or smell, so much. I coasted down long hills and allowed myself to look up to the brilliant blue sky as I went, watching the yellow-brown and orange of turned leaves on black branches slipping by above me. So, the eighty or more degrees we felt under the sun today seemed lovely, yet eerie -- like a summer gone wrong, somehow, instead of autumnal reprieve.

It was a productive day, certainly, and appealing in its particulars. Meeting with young people at church about a creative project; face-painting at the neighborhood farmer's market fall festival; laundry, and sewing at home, capped by a really scrumptious family meal of crab legs, garlic bread and coleslaw. Delicious. It's possible I'll have photos later from the face-painting session (something I do for free at occasional community events.)

In the back of my mind there's a song by Jenny Owen Youngs just rattling around -- make it a fast car...make it a clean break... the notes a series of sharps and flats, against a hectic backdrop. Underlying angst that. Yesterday was an equally beautiful but much less positive sort of day, and today's inner stillness had more to do with feeling emotionally spent and raw versus any sort of peace. So my descriptions of strange weather are a projection too.

I'm thinking of my son, who visited me with his dad at the farmer's market and had me paint him -- a tornado in the center of his forehead, by request; a hurricane on the back of one hand and a thundercloud with lightning on the back of the other. He chased the other boys, who were painted up as wizards and accident victims and pirates, threatening to strike them with his lightning and blow them away with hurricane winds. My son's instinct for the dangers of the natural world outweighing the more traditional Halloween personas...

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