I might see the allure now, everything capped and framed in blankets of pure white, the tempest has gone out to sea, the world has settled teetering towards normalcy, the grit and dirt of the pace has not had a chance to corrupt the scene, the cold freezes the world or slows this down as much at least, enough to breathe and watch like chimneys slowly blowing smoke into the sky ceiling, there is a palpable silence to grip when the landscape has been dressed like this, when the local habitat endures the blunt instrument of winter, even the plowed remains, piled up against the curb seem like majestic sculpted berms, foot prints are deep and mark the paths, a distinct record of those who have passed just before you, you size up your shoe against theirs, like a game, filling the gaps with your own gate as you go, gingerbread houses, just make sense to me now, in this moment, covering flaws, making uniform the houses on the street regardless of style and year, I suppose I am dreaming, streaming in the land of rockwell, of sleds and mittens, of hot cocoa, piles of boots scattered in the front hall, sure, the world bounces back swift and the race is back on, shortly, but for a moment, transformed, a neighborhood of warm gingerbread houses is mine to adore…
notes… hey, we got 18 inches of snow here give or take, Edison NJ proper, well, at least to me, north Edison, just outside the donut that is Metuchen, just left of Iselin the Asian Indian capital of the region (damn I am spoiled food wise you can’t imagine, pizza and vindaloo to die for within 10 blocks)
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)
‘raking’ 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.
tonight the temp is just right cold enough to be colder than I can just smell the sweet leaves that fell wet so many more to go but this line between seasons in change I lament the summer but feel ready for fall prepared by all the signals my mind is made ready standing-waiting in a train station stop waiting to board the transition on
notes… just walked outside, my windows are open but I am not getting inside this lovely wave of fall air, refreshment indeed in some sense, not reprieve from a scorching day, more like comfort in a perfect blanket zone, comfortable, soothing, but yet hints of fall, the slightly sweet smell of rotting leaves, dying leaves, the intoxicating sweet smell of decay, hinted, and the cricket choir is still living, and loud, but not as much or so much, some what subdued, like the temperature, a bull tamed, a wild horse tamed but yet will fade away into the cold, but right now that feels OK, no, it feels fantastic, relief… sweet belief. oh yeah, and this was something I just wrote in my head when I stepped outside, so, that is what it is, kind of haiku feel…
“summer the lover has left my bed phases pass as the world groans colder sheets witness to warmth now transform a shelter for the winter come once spring fling now just an austere dream so here I lay, sleep, now dormant beast”
notes: just something that appeared in my noggin, then I lost it, forgot where the heck I jotted it down, man that is annoying, then I had to read (translate) my awful handwriting…. yay !
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.
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.
a maple leaf landed upon my windshield one, proof that the autumn is still young, wildflowers still in bloom along the roadway as the sun slowly dips into 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
taking this moment to study and enjoy the subtle-ness and suppleness of this cool breeze, letting it caress me, wrap itself around me, swirl undress me to my core, while still clothed, how this wind in my hand allows me to wind down, the gears, to a grinding rusty sparking halt, to full inhale and breathe deep, to realize the world has had me wound going at an accelerated pace, all day, for no real rational reason, I suppose this is manifest stress destiny, allowing your gears to be flung wide west open to please the demon of production, of work that is never done and will still be here long, undone as I am off into the next stage of life, how easily we get wrapped into the tow throng of the assembly line, I suppose it is all in the deft trap of routine, the schedule, the drive, the morning coffee, the vacant hellos to some, the longer hellos to those that know you, or at least know ‘the work you’, and those that are actually friends outside the confines, the walls all determined by time cards and paychecks, a structure construct, the contract codex of the workplace, the pace, a race, to nowhere or upwards rung for more money less time both in years and in life as time forwards by, the gears shift seamlessly and to all speeds, speeds by so rapidly without seams, no fun mondays blur into wtf wednesdays to gateway fridays and weekends relief, the summer is gone and I barely had time to admire her smile, warmth, and sun, I do not miss the bugs however, to sit out on nights like these, this comforter of a breeze, much cooler than has been, not enough to chase me in, or out of my shorts, my toes are growing cold but I still prefer bare-feet for now, the dew on the lawn is certainly cold, not a foil anymore to a blazing sun’s gaze, but for at least a few more precious days I can pretend to feel what the summer was while awaiting the growing cold, such is the nature of things, such is nature, the pace is the same, year in and out, the seasons roll in and out, the rest of the natural world flows as the river natural goes, but do we ?
(part of my porch series… which I try to keep up with, when it happens but the page is not always 100% up to date, but I try my best when I have time, so thanks in any regard..)
‘the lone dandelion’ as I look all about my yard, thinking of something clever to say, or some universal truth to transmit, I have to remind myself, the whole purpose of sitting out here, is, none of these things, to let the world flow, and go from there, I suppose that is my humanity tugging at my strings, sometimes I feel like I could pen a novel in an afternoon, or other times I struggle to write a simple line, maybe this is one of those times, so I pay more attention to the dog, perhaps as slavish as I to routine, yet I know her senses are much keener than mine, or at least more overt, maybe mine are buried by human arrogance, I look at all the leaves scattered on the lawn, a chill I know but since left long ago has snuck back into this room, alas, where did the summer go? I suppose that sentiment loses some significance as we get older and are saddled with work, the days of youth – the summer was this singular freedom, long days, beach days, peeling skin, neon colored buckets, hiking in the catskills, scraped knees, everything seemed possible, now, just the nicer drive to work, waking up with sunlight and coming home with same, a delight on it’s own, and it is coming to a close, as everything does, I suppose, I look off to one of my bamboo bushes, and oddly, totally out of season, there is a single dandelion, no, not even in the flower phase, in the hair is white spread the seeds phase, how odd, and how quite late, I want to tell the little guy he is a bit out of sorts, but why cut short the singular joy this little weed might be channeling, a single dandelion spreading it’s wings, futile, I know, but the singular notion of it is in a way inspiring, a singular bloom out of season, but a bloom just the same, for a second, there is spring even in the face of the fading shadow of summer.
labor day, the traditional death of summer, everyone rushes in like an orgy of decadence to have the last hurrah, the last dance, on the last day, school begins next week, so seemingly the season of play is gasping for breath, the last stand of the ph warriors who battled chemical balance in their pools all summer long, for this payoff, as the door is closing, I know, in my mind, or in my rational side, that time has a singular pace but I will still swear on my grave there are times when time speeds up or down, always the contrast of what we feel is true up against what we ‘know’ as truth, there are already early casualties of the seasonal war, leaves already yellowed, scattered about my lawn, how quickly the summer is gone, like the rest of everything else around me I will cling to every bit of the warm sun, and absorb every last of molecule of heat, from which I can…
this is not a quiet night, in fact my immediate neighbors, to my right, are throwing quite the party, like they should need a permit loud party, the street is lined with parked cars I do not recognize, my neighbors have white balloons tied to their mailbox, to mark the spot even though everyone has GPS today, on their phones, or otherwise devices, I think to myself, such is the cycle, the cycle of life, a celebration of life just next door, and yet literally three houses down they continue in mourning of passing, and me here, dwelling, veritably in the middle of both, I suppose that is a midlife crisis? being between birth and death equally, seeing so clearly both wherever I may roam? I do not know… and I suppose no one does.
I am not certain what type of party this is, somewhat formal, guests dressed in sunday best as far as I can tell, bottles of wine and platters of food in tow, they have a live band, so I imagine it is an occasion of some importance, the band seems to be playing the standards, I am guessing, it is all in vietnamese, but I thought I heard a rendition of “daddy’s little girl” in there, maybe it’s a wedding, white balloons and all… there is a little cadre of the neighbor’s friends or relatives on the front porch, away from the party, grabbing a smoke, some drinks, probably talking shit about the ones in the main gathering out back, I know this group well, I’m usually one of those self righteous rebellious comrades, too cool for the main room, or backyard, in this instance, but I must realize and admit, it is my own inadequacies and lack of comfortable self that makes me break off, as I do, into the smaller group, where I can exert more control, avoid my own failures and flaws instead of accepting them whole cloth, and wearing them proudly back into the fold, proclaiming me, but maybe sometimes I also think, I do not truly belong, both truths can be true, a married couple of ineptitude in my soul…
as more guest arrive, their long shadows almost stretch and touch me from the sidewalk, these last lights of the day, bending into a celebration, I notice myself in the moment, I am uplifted, I do not know any of the words to any of these songs, not even the language, but somehow, there is translation in the sentiment, perhaps this is latent memory taking the wheel, I have been to many affairs and parties over the years, just not my own, so maybe this is why I know the feelings so well, I guess that is why I feel so relaxed and comfortable now, sitting here alone, on my porch, enjoying a celebration of life, quite outside my own, knowing this is all life, the cycle of loved ones and dear friends, come and gone, celebrations, gatherings, moments, come and gone, these we hold on to, we need to hold on to, each other while we are still here because even within my block, all the reminders of life’s start and end, stay very near.
Notes… this is endemic of my Porch series, I was out there tonight, observing, and writing, and enjoying the world…