It rained hard last night, and this morning the sidewalks and buildings looked scrubbed clean, waiting, like the floors of a restaurant not yet open for the day. Outside our house the rain drove the Ginkgo leaves to the ground, fanning around the tree like a skirt whose elastic has snapped. Fall comes late here, the leaves only beginning to fall with the post-Thanksgiving cold mornings and dark rainstorms, so it’s easy to forget it happens at all when other parts of the country are already talking about snow.
I am writing more, making phone calls, filling out papers, jotting down lists, finding hope in routine and action, inspiration in fiction (I just finished Barbara Kingsolver’s The Bean Trees, which I can’t believe I’d never read given how much I loved The Poisonwood Bible and Prodigal Summer). It’s been a dark time, but the yellow wildness of these leaves on smooth city pavement, and satisfaction of moving at last, calms the worries.
As does my wonderful guy, with his humor and warmth and habit of not shaving until he can comb my hair with his chin.
And time with my dear friend, and her smiley little girl, playing in piles of yellow and red maple leaves, keeping the baby from eating (too much) mud, walking and talking about moving and our nomadic lives and how hard graduate school can be.
Did you know shaking a branch into a hail of yellow leaves could make a baby giggle endlessly? You should try it, there’s no feeling sad when your hair is full of leaves and an 8-month old is chuckling with glee in your arms.