“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


in which we have wind. advent: day 1

never mind that there is only one falling leaf right here - in real life there are thousands.  there are patches of green where the lawn is left bare, the wind sweeping the leaves into deep piles, only to scatter them again.  never mind that it is the end of november - it is warm.  ish.  the sky is gray and the trees undressing - through empty branches, i can once again see the church steeple down the street.  the doors and windows are open and the sound of autumn rushes through the house.  it is the first day of advent.  four sundays, four weeks, and four days until christmas.  let us begin with the wind, and try to look forward more than we look behind us.  there is a path we must make, a new one, once again and always.

i feel a sudden need for less color.  this feeling comes and goes in my life, this year especially, this time especially, the leaves across the ground, in the air, still hanging to leaves, all the color i want. it will change, i think, when the leaves are gone and the cold settles in, but for now?  only softness will do.  the faded colors of real life.  yesterday i took down the big painting in my living room, leaving the wall bare, taupe, against the white of the couch.  i like the space it brings to the daylight, the way the lamplight reflects in the evening.  the color of empty, ready to be filled, not knowing it is full already, not knowing it will spill over.

across the street byron begins to rake.  the leaves are to his knees and i know he must feel it is useless to try, but not only will he try, he'll succeed.  i've watched him for years.  by the end of the day there will be bags of leaves sitting curbside, by tomorrow it will look as if he's done nothing.  


when i step outside, the cat follows.
i quickly lose her to the background of autumn.



this water lives in mombasa, anyway, and following the yellow brick road

the roads move like rivers where i live.

it took all day to entice me outside;
when the last of the light began to glow on the bricks i was called.

it was small rain yesterday, from morning to night, and it was small when i stood beneath it; all the best magic is small. there'd been hard news in the morning, news i'd sat with through tv movies and laundry, letting it sink in, shedding no tears.  i stepped into the rain and all that changed.  i began to cry.

road is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two places . . .
river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater,
flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river . . .

we move forward always, even if we turn around. time clicks into the future no matter which way we face.  new places await.  the late mary, she of once upon a time across the street, told me when times were bad, she imagined herself on a river, floating.  face to the sky.  giving herself to the flow.  the river moves anyway, she told me.


(road and river definitions from wikipedia)


the days go quiet

the days are dropping one by one from the limbs of this year,
going pale and then gone forever into the past, never to be seen again.
their memories stay but they are only that,
their colors brighter than the truths,
their sounds quieter, their whispers almost too loud.

it's the ache in my arms and the hurt in my wrists that remind me,
the still painful twist of my ankle from all the turning aways.

this coming season says soft,
tells me that christmas will be full of silent nights
and small gifts.
that cleaning the house takes second place to family and friends;
that the lights will be low and the tree will be hushed.

i will run late and not worry.
i will turn the volume down to one
and ignore the red bars that urge me to turn it back up.



autumn winter november sunday

sunday real life with rain and cold and broken camera in hand.
my neighbor's tree.
he was sitting in his car, warming it up for a donut run;
i just tapped on his window and pointed at the tree.
he knew.


i don't have the magic to make the outside warmer.  i open the door a few inches, enough for the cat to get through, but she just stands there and looks at me, then meows and walks away, headed for her spot in front of the fire, looking back at me over her shoulder as if i've failed her on some deep mama emotional level.  it is only when i step outside that she chances it also, texas cat that she is.  she followed me out this morning and when i glanced back over my shoulder from across the street, she was full of kitten, on her tiptoes, skittering sideways around the yard, but then fast back into the house when i returned.

the cold is here.  serious autumn feels like winter.  magnolia leaves drop to the ground, fluttering in the wind like fallen birds, and the camellia tree in the backyard next door is covered in white blossoms - at a glance it looks like snow. the tree on the corner has leaves that go red for a few hours and then brown.  a short envelope of time to catch them.  all the trees that drop their leaves are doing so, some more slowly than others, still changing colors, only letting go when the wind pushes hard against them.  but, in the continuation of seasons, we still have honeysuckle blossoms and birdsong greeted me when i woke.  everything smooshes together.  the calendar is, after all, man-made.




put the iPod away and pay attention to your surroundings

when it was summer.

stripes on her ankles.
toe rings. 
nail polish. 
humidity, mosquitoes, rivers and rain. 
not my image, not my feet,
though i willingly accept the blame or credit for the photoshop juju. 
i heard through the grapevine that she had fun, fun, fun, and wants to go back.
i could see it in her feet and asked to borrow the image.

3000 acres and almost no people.  sometimes phone service, sometimes not.  911 is a long way away. bears have been encountered and wild horses have a habit of showing up on the cabin's lawn.  you are as on your own as the cat and kittens who've made their home in a fallen down barn somewhere on the property.  the dogs who show up now and then are called ugly and uglier, though neither is. if the weather grows suddenly cold and you are unprepared, it means a drive to the nearest town for jackets and jeans.

if you break down, it's up to you to fix it.


i wrote this 4 months ago.
there are now puppies under the porch and temperatures in the 20s.
everything changes.
nothing changes.

(title via this article.)