Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Eve in the Fall

Monday night I needed my extra-insulated parka to be able to sit outside and watch a soccer game. It didn't seem fair that I was being dive-bombed by mosquitoes when it was that cold. Finally, when we could no longer see the players, the game was called on account of dark.

Tuesday I drove for two hours on 2-lane highways rimmed by trees glorious with the sun shining on fluttering red, orange, yellow, and green leaves, interspersed with fields full of dried corn stalks or covered with dusty purple and yellow blooms.

This morning it is cloudy; we had to get up in the dark. There are fallen leaves scattered across the driveway. In the words of Hopkins, it is the start of "goldengrove unleaving." The dim light makes me understand something about this poem by Debora Greger, entitled Eve in the Fall:

Summer torn down, petal by petal.
Had the father of storms spent himself at last?
An avalanche of stony silence fell.

And then my eyelids fluttered open
as they had that first morning
I saw you beside me, strangest of creatures,

the one most like me. But this time you were old.
When I looked closer, I saw myself
in your eyes, a fallen leaf starting to curl.

I heard a rustling, insistent,
a tree trying to shake off the past
or a river feeling its way past a wall

toward some vast body of tears
it hadn't known existed. Down the street,
trucks trundled their dark goods

into eternity, one red light after another.
Though it was morning,
street lamps trudged down the sidewalk

like husbands yawning on the way to work.
On puddles, on rags of cloud,
they spilled their weak, human light.

With shadow my cup overflowed.

It is becoming the season of shadows. I'll bet FreshHell will agree with me that the description of winter coming as "a river feeling its way past a wall/toward some vast body of tears" pretty much sums up the way we feel after the first frost. My father used to relish the crispness, rubbing his hands together and intoning "the frost is on the pumpkin." I hate to come outside and see the impatiens have turned to brown slime overnight. It makes me sad to haul the pots in, sad to see my Mother's Day begonia turn slowly from red to brown outside the window.

I get the feeling of deep winter's endlessness in this image: "trucks trundled their dark goods/into eternity, one red light after another." Right now, to twist Shelley's words, spring feels unreachably "far behind."

4 comments:

kittiesx3 said...

We haven't had a frost yet but probably will this week. And I'm already dreading winter--I love to run, it keeps me sane and there's no money for things like gym memberships. So I run outside, and I love it. But I won't run in snow or ice. Last year I couldn't run from mid-November until late March. This morning's run required my light running gloves and ear muffs. Brrr.

FreshHell said...

Yes, I do. Ugh. This morning was our first really cold day - one that will not climb back into the 60's or 70's. The children went to school in sweaters. They will be cold. We haven't purchased winter coats yet but may have to this weekend. It just doesn't seem fair. No frost yet but it's coming. Doom.

Kristen said...

Ahhh. But fall in Ohio is so gorgeous. Come this time of year here, I miss scuffing through the richly colored leaves on my way to class. Maybe that's why homecoming is always in the fall. It always brings images of college to mind for me.

lemming said...

Kristen's comment is funny for me - Homecoming meant nothing to me as a student and still rings no bells - not even sure if my alma mater has a homecoming tradition, though I'm sure there's an official weekend. perhaps if I were a larger donor, I would know these things.

Some falls are pretty and vaguely pastoral, but this one has been uniformly cold and wet. Is it spring yet?