The water will change to cherry wine
And the silver will turn to gold
Time out of mind”
I’ll think, “How could that have been a week ago. There’s NO WAY that was a week ago! Let me check the dates on my photos. Holy heck, it WAS a week ago.” It’s gotten so bad that I’ve nearly had to delete myself off of weekly mailing lists that I actually love (My Sweet Dumb Brain and MooseMan Photos) because I get those emails and think, “How is it another Thursday???” It’s like a shake my fist at the universe kind of moment, but I do have a sweet and dumb brain and I do love moose photos so.. I’ll just keep ’em coming. Summer was slow and sloggy and marked by tragedy. It’s the way that Scarlet helped me change the clock in our car the morning after daylight savings ended (nearly a week ago!!) and said, “A watched minute feels like 10.” Indeed it does, and a watched minute summer rolls lazily into nothing and nowhere. Nothing to really do and nowhere to really be, unless the occasional world-changing wedding or flight rolls around.
The school year flies between poles. Milestones and mile markers. PTO meetings and holidays and fall brunches quickly give way to the kind of darkness and weather that cracks your skin and cracks your heart. I try to hold on right now to this warmth and this golden glow and the connected and creative and cuddly feelings that have marked this fall. This short and winding burst of mountain roads, the endless search for VW Buses and VW Beetles, and how they come out of nowhere on a dark and biking road. I mean, it’s the new Radio Gods. You pray to whatever God or Gods or universal or manifesting magic you can dream of, and suddenly you’re alone on a road, save for a smiling hippie bus passing you by and grabbing your heart. Nothing to do other than wave broadly, grin, gasp. “Rider, did you see it???” “Yes, Mama, I saw it. A VW Bus!”
Between these weeks, and milestones and mile markers, Sawyer has started sleeping through the night. At first it was a fluke and now it’s the real deal (7 nights in a row and counting), happening at the exact time it happened with his three siblings. Des, Scarlet, and Rider all caught a cold or some sort of virus (we suspect RSV) and when Des had it, we had such a nice time together. I would let him rest and would give him medicine, but when he started feeling better, he came along on work errands. Together, we enjoyed the strange and unsettlingly nice weather together. We also lost a friend. My mother-in-law’s very dear friend and old neighbor, John. Pixie and John came to my wedding, and John had recently and healthily celebrated turning 87. As my mother-in-law said, “He was a tough dude. Until today.” We were at a festival with him a month ago and I saw Pixie but I don’t think I saw John. They had a part in our story.
John was one of those people who guesses the sex of a baby and is almost always right, and he told me Scarlet was a boy! I was glad he was wrong, considering the three boys who followed.
After breakfast, we drove straight to Cassidy’s mom’s house in Conway, Mass. After an all-nighter, a house with beds was an astounding relief. Only..the house was locked, of course, and we couldn’t figure out how to get in. We did have one crappy, working cell phone between us but I can’t remember if we called neighbor, Pixie, or just drove over to her farm. She was more than happy to help us get into the house. I adore and know her now and she attended our wedding, so I think I can be open enough to ask, “Umm…what did you think about the young girl, in maroon pants and a torn jean jacket, sleepless and delirious, showing up with your good friend’s son to stay in your good friend’s house, knowing full well we had just met??
She was cool, though. I remember sitting next to her while she told us what it was like to live somewhere you felt that magical, community, “home” feeling. I listened intently, with what brain capacity I had left. And I never forgot it, especially after I found my own “home” feeling, only 25 minutes from this strange place we walked into after one long night.”
The early fall has had its glisten. I had a pre-midlife crisis purchase of an electric assist cargo bike and I went through what nearly everyone who gets one probably goes through when that first ride on the bike is clumsy: “Did I just make an expensive mistake?” And of course the next ride was smoother, and then the next and the next. Maybe the one after that was rough again, but then I did the only thing you can do. I kept going. It got more fluid. I got more confident. I was always one to find light and details in everything I saw, and now my little toddler co-pilot points it out too. “A pickup truck! A flower! A moon. THE moon. No, a moon. A punch buggy (it really never is but we finally passed two that I was proud to show him). A pumpkin. A skeleton!”
The long days and the long weeks of summer left me grasping for something to hold onto – and I held on tightly. I had to, while questioning everything and everyone. I could find the darkness in a cup of light. And I wondered, about everything, well what’s the point? What’s the point of People Magazine? What’s the point of cruelty? With everything, I stripped it down in my mind until it held no magic, or possibility of magic. I was left with nothing. A cup of darkness, with one flittering and fluttering and flickering light. The possibility. The glow. It creeps and leaps back in, turning darkness to light and color. And where I used to say, of nearly everything, “Why would this be magic?” I’ve turned those questions around. What I mean to say this time is:
It’s the light in my eyes
It’s perfection and grace
It’s the smile on my face”