It was late afternoon and a small smokey fire crackled in the pit down by the beach. Leaves were everywhere; a mosaic of gold, red and brown. He pulled a rake through the fallen as if following the outline of a mountain stream exposing a green path underneath. The recent rains had brought the lawn back to life. He could see their children as youngsters again, running out of the house then, through the trail of green leading them right into his arms. He would lift them high in the air and swing them around; laughter and giggles and do- it- again! She made the coffee extra strong, not sure exactly why. The day was full of richness, strong coffee seamed called for. Opening the back door released the aromas of slow cooking onions, carrots, potatoes and pot roast. It would be a while before dinner yet they could hardly wait. This was, after all, the first official fall meal of the season.
I love fall. The colors of the leaves, the crisp air, boots and sweaters. Everything about it, except for the fog. Waking up in the mornings to soupy gray ghosts hugging the windows is less than a cheerful way to start the day. Not being able to see two feet out the door is not a poster child for good morning sunshine. Fog travels, as we all know. It moves along the ground and wraps itself around trees and hillsides, cars and homes, hiding everything behind it’s gray doors. If you open a window on one of these foggy mornings, it will enter your head. That’s right, your head. Fog travels everywhere, which is why none of us can even think on foggy mornings. It’s nearly impossible to think when your head is in, and/or full of fog. And if it doesn’t burn off by noon, it’s nap time; at least for me anyway. I’m not kidding. The grayness swallows me up and replaces any energy I may possibly have had with extreme fatigue. There is a real danger of sleeping right on through till spring if there’s enough fog in the fall.
I studied my mothers’ hands. Hands that still shone the beauty of youth behind the layers of age. Anyone could see they belonged to a woman who lived life to the fullest. Tiny sunspots dotted her skin and short nails represented a desire for cleanliness and usefulness, ready at a moment’s notice, these hands were. Her knuckles were slightly swollen, evidence of days long ago filled with sewing and cleaning and cooking. Busy hands belonging to a women with a house full of needs only she could meet.
Fire up the grill! It’s Labor Day! A celebration of working America. Now, I’m wondering…does this mean non-working America should sit this one out? I mean, there are a lot of unemployed, layed-off, no work to be had, people in our country right now. People who would love to be celebrating Labor Day because they are part of the labor force that drives our nation forward. What if they’re collecting unemployment, using food stamps, and have medical paid for by the rest of us?
Fall is here. I can hardly believe it. There is a hint of cool air behind every warm moment. I sat outside for a while, eating my lunch today. As I faced the sun, tiny beads of perspiration gathering at my hairline, yet a chill ran down my spine. It’s was still summer to the side of me facing the warm rays of our friendly fire-ball, but it was definitely a different season to the side facing the shade.
There is a lot of work involved in keeping the boat afloat. It needs constant care and attention, plenty of elbow grease. We’ve noticed whenever we let ourselves slack off, we end up having to haul it out of the water and scrape off barnacles that shouldn’t have been allowed to latch on in the first place. That’s what happens when we let things go. Little inconveniences turn into problems; narley things start to attache themselves. It always ends up being a job we could have avoided.
Oh, my. America is getting old. All of us “kids” are in our fifty’s and sixty’s now, even Mick and Harrison and Demi and Cher. Our children are entering middle age, filling the spot where we used to be. And our parents? Well, they have become impossibly old! Suddenly, we’re kind of old, and they’re antiques. Not only that, but us kids with our sore hips and bad knees are having to step in and take care of them. Something I never thought of myself doing. Something I never thought of my parents needing.
As a country of legendary marketing finesse, “they” have sold “us”, the general public, a bevy of brilliant and powerfully positive slogans; Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life, Just Do It, Count Your Blessings, Live in the Moment, Because You Can, Take Nothing for Granted, Go for the Gusto, etc. All suggestions with the best of intentions, directed at encouraging our society to search out the positive in every situation. Chin up, ol’ boy! And you know what? “They”, are right!
We pulled up logs and gathered around the camp fire, roasted marshmallows and anxiously waited for the big show to begin. We were all very hopeful this years fireworks show would be the best ever. Come to think of it, the 4th of July has always been one of those hopeful holidays. Most of the time, the weather is questionable so we spend a lot of time with the weather channel, hoping for a favorable forecast. We call traveling family and hope they’re safe and getting close enough to start the barbecue. Then we hope there is enough propane in the tank to cook all the burgers and hot dogs. We hope the corn on the cob is sweeter than last years.
I spent the morning in our crawl space going through box after box looking for old photographs of our kids when they were babies. Anyone beside me have packets full of unmarked photos from forgotten vacations, ancient Christmases, birthdays where you hardly recognize yourself?