The Simple Difference Between “Fall” and “Autumn”

According to the OED (Oxford English Dictionary, 2013) out of the first thirty definitions of the noun Fall, all but one revolves around an object(s) dropping from great heights including meteors, rocks, and morality.

But the noun Autumn describes the inflaming deciduous trees and shrubs whose normally green leaves are recalibrated into an expression of a Creative and their vow of Life as seasons whether it’s the combustion of golds, reds, oranges, yellows, pink, magenta, black, blue, and brown or our conquering obstacles encountered, we, like our planet’s oft overlooked foliage experience similar change: birth, growth, death, rejuvenation.

The beauty of Autumn goes far beyond walking through mounds of leaves crackling like damp wood in a fireplace, hot apple cider, sweaters, pies, early dawns and even earlier dusks. Like a prepaid Visa card which is reloaded, Autumn returns each year and reloads us with hope and the stalwart conviction that all of Life is a set of Seasons, each with its own distinguishing hallmark which does, strangely enough, echo each of us. 

One Creative, One Blossom, One Night

This Rose Represents All Of This Summer's Beauty
The Creative’s Choice To Represent All Of This Summer’s Beauty

Jenni and I joyfully stepped out of the house at twenty past seven for her afternoon walk (kudos to Jenni’s plumbing!).

By that hour it was already dark but for the jostling tree canopy’s flash bulb burst of the city’s ghoulish orange tints.

Our neighborhood Edgewater, enjoys its gentrification’s hushed family sounds which escape their kitchens through screened front doors. Unfortunately we’re squeezed between two struggling, sputtering overlooked or underfunded,  dicey, SRO’s by eager developers looking for quick $400,000 condominium flips and the deceptive veil of unsubstantiated assurance that upscale retail would quickly stake their claims in ground-level build-outs the size of a bird cage. Aldermen often deny developments promising to turn-out now displaced single mothers barely able to keep her family safe in a rent-controlled, 1960’s, poorly planned, troublesome 10-story mid-rise, shoddily built, local drug lords staking claims or disagreements quickly and publicly resolved through an indiscriminate hail of gunfire. This hell hole is still better than the streets.

I guess what better place to plant the most beautiful blossom of our passing summer than in a place wholly absent of beauty. The Creative, the One that irresponsibly plants the most beautiful blossom in the world in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the world expresses an unconditonal affection for blossoms and beauty.

He can offer it. What we do with it is, well . . .

NOTE: I snapped this picture in total darkness
and absent of any flash device. I revisited
the sight this afternoon and the blossom
as well as the plant were gone.

Winter Recollection

images-5

Floating from heaven

(perhaps an angel’s first molt),
flakes-first-to-fall
scout the coldest
snowflake1of cold places where
snowflakes might make landfall
and swallow our feet like sand
at the ocean’s edge.

The first few dance like marionettes and,
like children, are delighted and distracted and
saddened, our cold clowns drafted
by the blizzard. More and more
and still more;
An avalanche of grated gray clouds
images-9
now spill like puzzle pieces
fashioning a flourishing,
custardly-creamy, alabastrine tapestry
imbued with tips of crystalline
facets that wink at Ol’ Sol
as his hammer struck
and cleaved and chiseled through miles
images-1of gray Merino wool.
Flakes-of-the-First-Order
avoid the silken strands of Alpaca wool to see its target:
the pudgy pink tongues
of pursuing schoolgirls and their
hope to catch a piece of heaven.

Creatives

Upon witnessing the thousand upon thousand upon thousand of marvelous, brilliant, and novel flowers and plants during Jenni’s morning constitutional; it is hard to argue that there isn’t something profound influencing our world. This something has a broad canvas and phenomenal palette upon which to design and express.

I call these something’s Creatives. Not the adjective creative, but the organic, the essential, and the vital spark igniting intelligence and the miraculous diversity called Life.

For example:

 

Kindness Serves the Souls of Strangers

1-actkindsandals

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”    Plato
“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”   – Mark Twain
“Offer kindness without reward knowing that someone will return that which you offered another.”   – Henry Van Dyke
“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”   – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I want to thank those of you from around the world that were generous, hopeful, and kind in spirit to send my brother Get Well cards. Thanks to you he received hundreds of cards which surprised him and stunned the hospital.

When asked by nurses “who do you know?” He thought for a moment then said, “Me brudder!”

Heaven Might Be Anywhere

One of my greatest fears in life is that this life, this practice life, will be our only life, and, of course, one doesn’t hear the punch line. This moment of truth, this day of reckoning, this day of judgement, is the religious revelation of the existence of evil and the evil dominion of bête noir: The introduction of fear as consequence of a wayward behavior in this life.

What if the moment of truth, the day of reckoning, and the day of judgement were all about the earthly presence of beauty, of grace, and of winsomeness? What if in your minds eye you were witness to all the mystical magic of earth? What if the magic of life was overlooked because our treasured gift of life was fettered away in a foolhardy gaffe to get somewhere-anywhere, because somewhere-anywhere promises joy and laughter and intimacy and beauty which is sorely missed from right where I am.

What if the hereafter punch line was: Heaven is right under your nose?

IMG_0423 IMG_0424 IMG_0414 IMG_0416 IMG_0413 IMG_0401 IMG_0376

 

Thank You, Doctor . . .

There was a time, oh, not so long ago that friends Michelle and Peter and Nick would remember that I sat in a chair in a public forum and wept because I never became a doctor.  Friends recommended nursing, but on my first day my instructor, wearing one of those origamitized hats mentioned the adjective caring in hundreds of examples.  By the end of the day I’d grown so weary of the word caring I returned my shiny new mules and knew I didn’t have the dedication to the lives of total strangers simply because your unyielding care and uncompromising affection for humanity seemed as close to grace as most of us will ever know.

I’ve been very lucky to have been able to continue my 20 year relationship with my primary care physician.  In 20 years we’ve both learned a lot about each other: he more so of course, especially with those physician distributed x-ray glasses (and we thought they were some manifestation of a cartoonist’s imagination) because how else could doctors have the degree of insight simply by engaging in an innocent conversation.

I’ve been thinking lately that all these men and women who voluntarily step up to education and raise their hands so strongly, so surely, and so hopefully that witnessing that depth and degree of service to strangers must be one of the most moving examples of humanity stepping into a life where their life is secondary.

Why they do this happily, proudly, compassionately in order to be in the presence when most of us aren’t gussied up for prom astonishes me and thanks God for loaning humanity a few hundred thousand angels to leave Heaven and come to earth (by way of unimaginable hours pouring over manual after manual after manual and I can’t even remember 3 things to buy at the grocer’s), then share their own type and degree and experience of the comfort they know to be true once we let go and become fine examples of colorful balloons rising higher and higher and out of sight but not out of mind.

To all those selfless and defenders of the weak or ill or mentally compromised or children or any other of the millions of disenfranchised a mere thank you will never repay your kindness. But maybe God’s set up a 401(k) for you in heaven.