Tag Archives: autumn

Recovery, Reverie

The day was going to be different. Isn’t that always the case? I was going to go in to Boston for my weekly class, but because a guest writer was giving a reading, we were going to use the time after to write. News of a nor’easter came, and I woke to find the power gone. I wrote to my class to enjoy the reading without me,waxing poetic about the rain and wind, and how this was the kind of weather to birth pages of words.

But instead of clearing my desk, I noticed that the radio station where I volunteer at needed someone to cover a shift. Well I could do that, I thought, driving over. Somehow I managed to cram three hours of business donor ads into an hour, play some music, overturn a loose leaf folder which emptied its pages onto the floor. A listener called to gently correct my prunciation of an artist’s name. I managed to continue to miss cues, knock my headphones apart, suffer three coughing fits, and finally gather my raincoat to exit.

One reason I thought I’d cover a shift was because I woke in acute pain from the shingles vaccination I’d had the day before. As I write this, with mild fever , a fuzzy head, and achy body, already in bed at a quarter past seven, I wonder what fresh hell is this? Let’s roll out all those cliches. Being sick on your own is no fun. Who can you call for comfort? These days it is all texting. So you take some Advil, a teaspoon of honey because a friend of yours makes it with her bees, and wait for the morning.

How many nights do I just wait for morning? Tonight, I made a dinner out of a can of vegetable soup a friend recommended, adding some rasam powder, garlic, and mustard seed I fried in a small amount of olive oil, and several pieces of corn tortillas. I watched an episode of Doc Martin, wishing it was The British Baking Show, and finally made my way to bed.

It seems to me that I should host a dinner-making party, where every one gathers to make food for the week. Of course, it would have to be vegetarian in my kitchen, and there will be two curious cats around. And I’d have to scrub everything down to keep the dander away, and already the thought has exhausted me.

Somewhere in this essay is a cry, muted, but hovering: vaccines hurt; the immunities lower, the eyes get weepy, the body aches. I am grateful for a full belly, a warm bed. I want more, but this enough. Yesterday was different,as I listened some truly amazing music on the radio throughout the day and night in the car, went to a play, and came home to stay up until past midnight googling the play I had just seen. Tomorrow will be different. Outside, it not raining, but only the sound of wind filling the air.

Birds in flight, with delay.

Indira Ganesan, Heron, 2015

Indira Ganesan, Heron, 2015

A few days ago, I was driving to work, passing the beautiful flats near where I live.  The stretch of sand and water always presents a view worth seeing, so I add an extra five minutes on my commute to drive past.  Two herons were in flight.  And later in the day, two swans.  Of course, I wondered at the meaning.  Had it to do with my parents, my mother and my father? My father had passed away so unexpectedly last year.  Immediately, I worried for my mother, and later that day, managed to call her instead of doing other things, and had a long conversation.

Maybe it was just a day I was lucky enough to observe two extraordinary events, the flight in pairs of rarely sighted birds.  These are the moments that bring us out of ourselves, to see exactly what is in front of us, mouths open, mind stopped.  Of course, the mind hasn’t stopped.  It is processing the wonder* of the moment, for at long as it lasts, and then in retrospect.   I had meant to write about the two flights that evening, but I put it off.  Now, I can conjure only the bellies, I think, of the swans as they passed, but even that seems a dream, something I imagined.

Jorie Graham once told a class I was taking that when we are stopped in our tracks by nature, I think she used the word nature, though now, i am not so sure, as it was some thirty years ago, that when we are stopped like that, poetry occurs.  Poetry is then the moment when the heart nearly stops, gasping with surprising at the splendour in front of one’s eyes.  When I lived in Sag Harbor, I had a practice of sitting out on my deck and writing a short something in the form of verse every morning.  Recently, I went back to Long Island to hear two extraordinarily talented women speak about translation and copy editing. One was Ann Goldstein who translated the works of, among many others, Elena Ferrante, and the other was her cooleague (yeah) at The New Yorker, copy editor Mary Norris who wrote  Between You And I: Adventures of a Comma Queen.

Intimations of winter arrive in the early dawn almost like couplets, small short somethings, even as fall is yet to reveal her full beauty.

 

 

*( Speaking of wonder, anthropologist Tulsi Srinivas, at the Radcliffe Institute, has a forthcoming book I am looking forward to called Worlds of Wonder: Ritual Creativity and Ethical Life in Bangalore.)

Autumn, Again

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Sometimes driving in to work can be heartbreakingly breathtaking this time of year. A tree has shed its red leaves onto the highway, another is just starting to turn. Autumn, and its accompanying adjective, autumnal, carry weight, invoking age, splendor, a finality before the hush of winter snowfall. I have said this already, in another post.

This was one of the songs I listened to, “Morning Celebration” by Karunesh:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GKYIC2MPjO0

As always, here is Keats  “To Autumn” read by Ben Wishaw.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cKhX_DP1knU

And the text:

http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/autumn?mbd=1

For me, Autumn means I let go of my manuscript, write words, not paragraphs, let email overtake my mornings.  The practice of the summer has fled.  My students start workshop in one class, and in another, we discuss Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper.”

There is an abundance of readings and performances as the season gears up, and these days, the bus is packed.

I subsist some days on granola bars and coffee, before coming home an hour, now two, before bedtime.  The cats are hungry, as am I, for dinner.

My dinner is leftovers, if I planned ahead, or grilled cheese.  Soon
will come my ambition to roast squash, make soup. Autumn dreams of a kind.

Seasonal Change

red-autumn-leaves-free-beautiful-wallpaper-download-for-your-desktop-20140809182600-53e667b84982c

red-autumn-leaves-free-beautiful-wallpaper-download-for-your-desktop-20140809182600-53e667b84982c

The leaves are changing.  More and more

I see red patches over-taking the green, even as the Google Doodle

has let us know, for two days now,

that autumn is here.

How fresh the green was

back in the spring, how voluptuous

the reds and purples of summer.

Autumn  delivers fire to burn away growth.

Winter will cleanse out the palate,

give us a blank slate

to rest our eyes.