summer seems like a passing thought, as the days wind down into longer stretches of shadow now, subtle and sudden this seems, the decorations strewn about my driveway, my windshield, my mailbox, a myriad of the colors of dawn signify the cycle is moving ever forward to the end, yes, the sweet smell, a hint of decay, upon closer inspection the age spots tell the real tale of this festival on eyes, one last glorious burst as the sun slides out of reach, for a time, the now feels like a lingering but will soon be the past, as all things, time spins forward, hearts beat, children grow into grand old age, and the world spins away, sometimes I wish to be the cleverest man alive, and capture all this, harness all this, hold all this, a moment, in my mind, my belief out-paces reality, somehow I know this, but I would rather reside in the beauty of hope, of the other side, of another spring.
in the background “I wish you were here” is playing, somewhat muted from the other room, but such an easy sentiment, so true, and I do, looking out the sliding glass window door at a fall, well, the fall has happened, just the outlines, the bare bones of trees now, with giant lollipop tufts of leaves that the squirrels have devised and deployed as housing, not much camouflage now, not needed I guess, my the little buggers have grown quite fat, nearly falling off the limbs like overmatched wallendas, not the daring darters and dashers of just a few months past, a hawk is circling high above, but they pay no mind, I half expect to see a scene out of one of those wildlife documentaries, but nothing happens, just a feeling of stillness as I watch the outside world move about, a stiff breeze bends my bamboo halfway down, puddles have gathered where they decided to form a crowd, standing alone in the house, the colors are not dreary, just certainly not bright, every shade of brown imaginable, and wet bark, tends to be blackish, every once in a while there is a flash of bright color, a cardinal, or a bluejay will swoop in and steal my eye, but mostly the monotony of brown, I hear no sounds of the outside, just the song, and my mind…
“How I wish, how I wish you were here
We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fishbowl year after year
Running over the same old ground, what have we found?
The same old fears, wish you were here”
I feel time flowing around me, like a standing ‘henge rock in a river, for at least a respite, before I am swept with the rest of it, I’m not sad, no, more of just empty, or deprived of what I once had, no blame, no anger, none of that matters now, never did but stole those moments anyway back then, those days, not today, for I am in the here now, regardless of good fate or bad, there is no turning back, just this pause, as I try to lose myself in the minutia of squirrels in their world, in my backyard, mine, at least for a time, a lifetime just a stitch in this quilt, if that much, deep breath the experience in, fading into my own pale reflection in the glass now, staring, at myself, no, through myself, no doubt, I am the sum of what stands here, maybe I won the argument, maybe I stood by principle, maybe I was right, maybe I was wrong, that has all washed away now, inside these bones the truth takes hold.
“So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from Hell? Blue skies from pain?
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil? Do you think you can tell?
Did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees? Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change? Did you exchange
A walk-on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?”
-fin, fade to gray
notes… the quotes are obviously from the Pink Floyd tune above… do I need to even say that? perhaps…. I don’t want to be accused of stealing things, those words are surely not mine, part of my post, and the inspiration, that they are.
(note to any new readers: this particular series is all stream of consciousness that I write off the cuff in one take, so take it as thus)
sometimes the old way of doing something is therapeutic, or am I being the old man where balls disappear because the kids are afraid to go near his yard, is that even a thing anymore? kids can explore whole alien worlds without leaving their room, has the simple joy of a bat and a ball been lost or diminished? not a moral judgement, it is a silly thing to try and drag the past into the now, things change, some for better, some for worse, some for we have no clue, but raking- something so ancient, well, as old as we are on this truly aged world that is, there is something about raking leaves, the rustle, the sweetly slight decay scent in the air from the bottom layers as you peel them away, thrush- thrush- thrush-, like a rolling airy-loose wave into a pile they flush as you go, the subtle vibration of the rake in your hands as it scrapes the scape, in this case, the old thin style, only good for raking things lightly, the head of the thing has seen better days, held in place by crooked bent nails, but this base technology still works fine, a stick with some tines, and there is satisfaction in the chore, there is just enough chill in the air to block any sweat from forming, there is just enough sun to warrant short sleeves and feel the waning warmth on your skin for at least one more day, a leaf blower is just not as satisfying (even if gratifying and practical), plus, they are loud whining machines of arcing crescendos, even the electric ones, maybe it is because I am raking on a sunday, the off day, I want to hear and feel the very pulse of fall not some infernal machine… rake… let the memories seep in, huge piles of leaves to dive in and feel the crinkle… thrush- thrush- thrush-, the satisfaction of building up a huge bunch, gazing up @ the trees to estimate the next delivery, fall is generally very quiet, except the squirrels, they are too easy to track racing through the downed leaves, most birds have gone south already, so here I am, just table setting for the coming winter, cleaning up the lost purveyors of shade, for their job is done now, I’m sure parts of me will ache tomorrow, but in a good way, in a good fashion, doing things the old way, connection to the simple, to the past, and there is satisfaction there, in something like this, raking.
the moon is in league
and so it descends, frozen invisible prison bars, a brisk cold, hints dropped like falling petals scattered earlier in these past weeks, the crisp bite of fall I called such, but now, full teeth bared gleaming white, the ring leader, the pied piper, reverse reflecting the sun’s light to dominate the sky of night, the stark dearth star, a cold dead desert hypnotizing our hemisphere into submission, sleep… a full moon, of course, conjured up’for hallow’s eve, just as the leaves have been stripped from many trees, that inescapable gaze blazes down on this landscape, no clouds, no shroud to hide in, no, open resistance, a brazen demonstration of barren isolation, Winter; that which slows life like a vice twisting in a thimble, at barely – a – pace, the feel has a beacon, a symbol, a scion, the brightest object in the sky as the world turns cold and colder, twist once more, snow, yes, snow, this morning there was snow, not the type to warm your heart on a christmas morning viewed from a cheery warm window sipping hot cocoa, no, dead falling, falling heavy wet white wolf pelts slapping on the windshield, letting you know the summer you once knew is quite gone, and certainly I did not outfit myself in the proper jacket to deal with this early assault, but no matter, I will not linger here, being stared at, examined, scrutinized, by that dead eye hanging in the sky, the cold isolation, the green of the world has peeled back in reflex, but I was watching, I swear I was watching this time, how did I miss this, the coming loud tide of the cold wave, my breath rises out up into space, drawn up by that nocturnal beaming thief, as I walk I feel the presence of being followed, stalked, tracked across the sky behind my shoulder, just over my shoulder, footstep by footstep by footstep, I notice my feet, the fallen, the fallen leaves are a patchwork quilt, in the day a beautiful sight, but night, now, wet and soaked, dank slippery wetness, the kind where you want to rush inside and peel off your drenched clothes, sit wrapped blanket by a fire, the brand of cold that turns skin blue, the body shrinks back into a shell, yes, the chills, run, run up the spine and through the teeth, chatter, I must devine that my ancestors were not of alpine stock, not if this is my evolved shock, even now, years worn down, years documented on my paycheck to this universe, still, some nights, the moon is a sinister beast, dead reveling in an earthly feast. (and so I retreat, cuddle up with my dog, and sleep)
driving, early evening, the days are stretching darker, yes, yes – this is the crest of autumn, leaves have fallen but there are so many trees still bursting ripe with them, of course there are the colors: the yellow, the purple, the orange, the red, and all the burnt versions in between putting on a last ditch flare before the penultimate fall and down evolution to brown (dust), but that is a couple weeks away yet, we have not yet reached the summit of the complete denuding of the arboreal population, driving at night – this is like a scene devised, laid out and mapped, planned, the leaves almost form a skirt from the curb out, a perfect and undisturbed line, exactly (or so) 4 feet, like extended orange-spotted fronds creeping onto the road separate from the curb form, my headlights reflect off the sheen left by the gentle misty rain that has drifted down from the parent fog, not a sparkle, or a shimmer of diamonds like the ocean waves @ sunset, more like individual sliver silver hands raised up on the curled tips of leaves waving ‘hey, look at me’, one last act of expression before life is drained into submission – the sleep, all this has the feel of an awake painting, and I am within the gallery, living, among the breathing-pulsing museum of the actual world, I round the familiar corners toward home, not as many decorations this year, the usual houses of course do not resist the urge, or perhaps the good intent, blow up spiders, skeletons bent, a makeshift foam graveyard, gossamer webbing swaying in the breeze like a demon child’s sinister swing, for a moment there is comfort in thought, the remembrance of halloween, youth, bouncing steps between houses, yes, this is definitely the plum of autumn, winter has not bared her full teeth set as of yet – but you know she is coming, the whispers in the slight chill let you know in passing, but this, one of those moments to savor, driving, the road lined like a pictured frame and I feel, at peace – in place – playing the part for which I was made, perfect borders remain for me to follow this familiar path, skipping street light to street light like hopscotch, let my senses embrace and marinate with the sights and sounds, one more turn and- I pull into my driveway, some of the magic seems already gone, lost… but… with care, I peel a large, intact, blood-red maple leaf off my side mirror, I hold the stem, and twirl it in my hand for a bit, to say goodbye – to a friend.
the sand is cold, I could wear shoes, I know, but that is not the essence of the beach for me, the volleyball courts are empty, for some reason I think it bad karma to cross them, the lines defined that is, silly I guess, but we all have our idiosyncrasies, a stiff steady wind pushes in from the ocean, my journal’s bookmark flapping wildly about like some worn flag that has seen one thousand seasons and as many storms, so I walk toward the remains of the sunset, somewhere in the back of my mind this seems a warmer path, maybe it is just the exercise of walking in sand, feet sinking in, there are a few other travelers here, as I suppose there would be, or at least should be, there is the inner conflict of wanting to share such a place and yet commit it all for your own, both thoughts feel at home in my mind but I suppose I do not own this open secret, so here you are, welcome, the rush of the waves provides constant sound, I hear nothing of humanity at the moment, not a drop of the usual din seems to reach my ears, except the wind, not howling, not screaming, nor a gentle hand, somewhere in the limbo that lies between all those, a rising firm calm if you will, gulls glide silently above, a couple walks by with their young child, also silent, I can not accurately describe the golden shimmer of the leftover tide in the sand and fading sunlight, wave upon rolling wave, maybe this is the only timeless thing I may ever encounter or perceive, back there, just some hundred or so feet, the supposed real world, none of that has ever felt like this inside my bones, is this abject loneliness? I have always been an optimist, no, I am not lonely even if I am quite alone, I just feel something missing, perhaps…
I can feel the darkness of the rest of the beach creeping up my back behind me, I do not dare to look and become a pillar of sea salt, no, I look forward to the only hope I have, the only light left, even with a useless breath, might I, fight the inevitable –
with this, a moment, an experience, a performance on the oldest stage, might even Homer blush, for he knew, as do I, our temporal nature, among nature, while born of gods this realization, or born of science, much the same, these waves have seen many eyes before mine, and many more still when I am gone, for at least I was this once, graced with the best seats in the house.
the balance has not quite yet shifted, but surely as the days flash on by, the ground is more littered, bathed in various shades of red and yellow, all over my car window, stuck there spread eagle by autumn rain, always the maple leaf, I suppose, being a creature of the northeast I am having a singular experience, for maple is mostly the way here, quilt patch blankets of wet leaves all around, the ground, the lawn, lining the street except in the spots with the constant pounding foot traffic of cars, all these leaves have come to an end, spent the spring and summer, gathering what sunlight and shade they can, or could, depending on where they were born and placed, all in an effort to save the root cause and see through another winter’s pause, moving on into detached certainty, so the next generation might have a start and the life of the host moves on, the buds of the next generation may never know unless nutrients flow past that newly formed ring and pay attention, that anniversary, the subtle reminder that can only be truly read when cut down a thread and laid out, counted, because everything is numbers, everything is time, always right in front of us, dead fast in front of us where we can never truly reach, like a reflection in a pool, we see everything exactly as is but we can not touch the image by any means, because in a moment that exactness is gone, all these leaves, upon closer inspection, different markings, colors, spots, holes from insects or time, slight variations in size, slight variations in tribe, all in all all fall down, all in all blanket the moist autumn ground, and I may take a moment to remember, them all…
the rain has gone but the song of the storm still plays a heavy dirge upon theses lands (as I observe), there is always these storms this time of year, where the sky is utterly gray and unforgiving, not pockets of lightning, not roving cloud wombs birthing thunder, rains that once quenched the glorious hot pavement of summer, so distant now but from just weeks ago, all the demons and reasons creeping back in, in this season, the summer light kept them hidden, locked in their quarters, but now as the trees are being undressed, their hiding places no longer needed, they are coming out, to stalk the night as it grows longer and longer, chewing, gnawing at the edges of the day morsel by mouthful, a crescendo descends upon the devil’s night, as candy and subtle mayhem ignite imaginations, shadows and flickering candles dancing in jack smiles, the world is retelling the ancient story, one it knows well, sending emissaries and portents to further the tale, and should we pay mind, or pay strict attention, details and devils may rise, all in the slight of hand concealed by an autumn storm as it rages in from the ocean on familiar northeastern tract, we bustle about under all this happening almost unaware, this transforming, but yet it dictates our path, changes trajectories whether we perceive them or not, from one leaf down to the whole lot, soon, soon a blanket will come, not of comfort but stillness cold, as the world prepares and truth be told, not mere whispers but whipping winds, change is coming and has already been.
music... Badlands – Winter’s Call
notes… thanks to all who read my words, all thoughts, comments, recipes, music recommendations and everything else is appreciated, I write this blog for me but if it helps anyone else? I’m cool with that, thanks.
that the autumn
as the sun
the sinking horizon
notes… to me this is about rhythm… but it came to me as thus, this morning, as I approached my car, my aim is to look up and out to see the world for a few seconds, and take it in, before engaging in the useless rat race in which I’m in
Just something that caught my eye… all the textures mixed together, nature does the work, I just stumbled upon it… metaphors galore if you will, or shall…