According to the OED (Oxford English Dictionary, 2013)out of the first thirty definitions of the nounFall, 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.
(perhaps an angel’s first molt),
scout the coldest
of 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
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
of gray Merino wool.
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.
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’sCreatives. Not the adjective creative, but the organic, the essential, and the vital spark igniting intelligence and the miraculous diversity called Life.
Our dog Jenni is a Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier. The Wheaten was bred in Ireland for over 200 years to be an all-purpose farm dog. They share a common ancestry with the Kerry Blue Terrier and the Irish Terrier. In Ireland, they were commonly referred to as the “Poor Man’s Wolfhound.” The Wheaten was not recognized as a breed in Ireland until 1937. The first Wheaties were exported to the United States in the 1940s. Finally, in 1973, they were recognized by the American Kennel Club. They are loving and very smart dogs i.e. Jenni knows English, Spanish, and Shitzu. She greets everyone in the same way: standing up and licking their faces. Jenni is protective of us, but isn’t aggressive even when attacked by a Rottweiler. And most importantly, they maintain their puppy like qualities throughout their lives. Yay! (Sheesh).
I had no intention of buying a dog, but I was in a manic state. When I’m manic my mantra is, “I get what I want. Period!” I’d wanted a dog for the longest time; ever since FiFi my childhood pet leapt into the front seat of the car holding a one way ticket. Had I known she’d never come back I’d at least been able to tell her how much I loved her, and that I’ll miss her dearly, and I didn’t know why adults kidnap pets which won’t be coming home. Back then I convinced myself that my toy poodle had been set free in the woods where she could join the seldom seen and subject of many legends, the pack of wild poodles!
Of all the things Jenni is, there’s one she isn’t. She’ll never make the Olympic Swim Team in the 100 meter freestyle. In other words, she can paddle for her life, but Esther Williams she ain’t. It was late spring and the fish in our 500 gallon, 5 foot deep pond were beginning to shed their winter blues by swimming close to the water’s surface to enjoy the warmth of longer days and warmer sunlight. I let Jenni out to explore the Daffodils, Crocuses, and Snow Drops, all signs of Winter’s imminent departure. I always kept an eye on her even though the perimeter of our backyard was fenced in. Then I saw her: She had leaned to far beyond the safety of soil and onto the slippery limestone, her paws slid across the smooth face of limestone and Ker-Plunk, head first into the pond! I ran to the pond to find her circling in the middle precariously beyond my reach. I tried to coax her to the side, but she was panicking and her dog paddling was becoming erratic. I leaned over the edge of the pond, well beyond balance, grabbed her by the nape of her neck, and lifted, with one arm, a saturated fifty pound dog.
I expected that my bravery would result in a flurry of unstoppable wet kisses, but instead was the target of three whole body shakes, saturating me with gallons of my own pond water.
I have reason to believe that dogs aren’t aware of their size relative to the rest of the world. From the smallest breed to the largest there’s an obvious contradiction: the smaller breeds are the yappyist as though their bark implies, “C’monr! I’ll take y’all on! Me against 5 of you’s . . .” and their turf protection reminds me of the bully on the block. The larger breeds behave like Conscientious Objectors: demonstrating their reaction to conflict by staging a lay-in or sit-in. But I’ve determined that if you take a dog, remove its fur or hair, its legs, and its torso, a dog, fundamentally, is simply, a nose.
During one of our early autumnal walks, way past midafternoon’s march of the mothers to the elementary school followed by the pupil parade, two waning hours before dusk clocks in, we hit the abandoned sidewalk for Jenni’s thirty minutes of pure dogdom; when she’s not a pet, not part of the family, and not dependent on us. It’s her time to be a dog.
Often during our late afternoon, early autumnal walks we’re victims of late summer breeze’s giving way to staggering gusts which shake the trees like a determined child rattles his piggy bank. Green canopies disperse the shock while weaker, lower limbs lose grip. Cracking like brittle bones, the weakest branches drop like boat anchors, littering the ground with a menagerie of dissimilar limbs. Those few afternoons are beyond compare to play a rousing game of Stick!
Stick! is a close cousin to fetch with one caveat: When I say Stick! Jenni’s got to find a stick to bring back to me! It’s a marvelous game, especially since I never taught her about sticks. Either Jenni understands English or I’ve picked up a bit of canine vocabulary.
On a particularly gloomy, chilly, and misty afternoon Jenni wished to play Stick! But the pickings were sparse until I located the perfect size stick for Jenni. However, it had threaded itself around three wrought iron spindles of a formidable fence. I bent down to pull the stick free from the fence and it didn’t budge. The harder I pulled the tighter it lodged itself into the fence. I paused for a moment to check on Jenni’s whereabouts, only to see that she had bitten down on the other end of the stick, and matching my determination, pulled even stronger when I successfully gained an inch on my end.
To the stakeholders (followers), curiously cautious pundits of search engines (visitors), and serendipitous Internet bumblebee’s (alighting upon blossoming websites) please accept my apology for my absence from this blog and, consequently, the lack of freshly baked posts.
I know that my apology may be a bit unusual and absolutely unnecessary; however, I favor civility and honest contrition when one, quite benignly, overlooks a deadline for regrets. Dignity and grace insist that a personal note (posted that day) asking for benevolence regarding the delinquency of my response; I regretfully decline their gracious invitation to which they respond (for themselves and the blogosphere-at-large) their disappointment and a standing invitation to return to the blogosphere lest I find myself hopelessly self-sequestered from the rest of the world.
As a rule rarely discussed, Writer’s digest life like British Alpinegoats level a pasture. But goats aren’t expected to till and reseed the pasture they’d recently leveled. Goats have no relation to the past. It’s “full speed ahead!” As they mow their way about the emerald green pastures of the lowlands! Goats are enlightened as they don’t drag hundreds of yesterdays when they move from pasture to pasture. Contented goats just chew and chew and chew.
Writers, on the other hand, focus on the recollection of their past, harvest the past of others, or imagine the past of a fictional character whose past is a combination of the amalgamation of the writers past, the “blood draw” of recalled confessing invitees to dinner parties or the stealthy concern of other’s problems. Writers live in the past because it is a plump menagerie of recollection; an account from which to draw and deposit; a cistern which never falls beneath the water line of suffering. To hell with future! The suffered past of unaware donors is where the writer lives. Suffering attracts readers like moths to a light.
Today I feel like that carefully selected peach. The one picked for its promise, for its intention, for its springtime when its dense pulp prediction comes of age. Hands coddle, gently squeeze, study its color palette, infer its density. This is the One; I can hardly wait for its cotillion; the fuzzy skin taught like an umbrella tested by exuberant winds; at long last its flesh liquefies into sweet extract; itself a parity of perfection.
Arriving at its destination, it is cautiously extracted from the tote and collides with a biting downpour, where it’s tossed from hand to hand like packing the first snowfall’s first snowball. Flour-sacks turned drying-towels swaddled the tender pelt, familiar with its shallow depth and bias favoring lacerations, the freshly showered peach sustains a dozen instinctive pats then takes its place among the others. And waits. And waits. And waits . . .
Some are gone, snatched like field mice from above. Others suffered dismemberment; a knife tilled dry mortality then quit, flushing succulent hope into the dust bin. The remainders eroded to the Italian-painted bottom and waited. While waiting each of us, privately, felt the shock when its flesh gave-way; and the longer our wait the greater our deterioration.
Where did they go, we thought collapsing, the intoxicating eyes that radiated suggestive, wanton, and greedy fortunes? Where are those fussy hands that arranged us in the Italian-painted bowl like fowl on a nest? It was upon the scavenger fruit-flies arrival did we sense movement then the iciness of steel pushing us closer, some clinging then scraping then tumbling, airborne, as though I were that one fortunate seed that landed on that one fortunate acre that grew into one of many fortunate peach trees in Mr. Buchanan’s orchard.