At 5-something this morning, through the haze of my post-dream stupor, I heard the TV weatherdude introduce his forecast for the day: If you hated yesterday, you'll hate today.
Well good morning to you and thanks for the cheer, I thought as I rolled over and wrapped myself in the cozy blanket of just a few minutes more.
It's not that bad. Actually it's not bad at all, and I think our weatherdude's just a tad grumpy about October meaning it's off with the Birkenstocks and back on with the socks. However belatedly it arrived, our summer lasted a long and easy while, though I will admit it's hard to wave adieu.
Here in Oregon, autumn takes its time revving up, and while some trees have already turned to sticks, others are lackadaisical about revealing their colors, the oranges and reds creeping into their leaves like trick-or-treaters sneaking up to a shadowy porch.
Now the sky is about clouds. And intermittent rain. And swirl and bluster. The temperature has taken a dip, and if you're anything like I am, refusing on principle to turn the thermostat up before November 1st, the chill can be a bit shocking to the bones.
Yesterday, on my neighborhood walk, I captured a maple leaf and brought it home to slip in a card I'll send to a California friend. It's not an easy labor, choosing just one leaf to represent an entire season. I thought of Joy Sexton, daughter of the poet Anne. Early October, 1974: Joy away at school and selecting her own such leaf, slipping it in an envelope and mailing it to her mother. By the time Joy's offering arrived, Anne was dead, lost to a turn of key and a gas-filled garage.
I've often wondered if Joy regretted sending the leaf, disintegrating symbol of all that would forever be left undone. Or did she manage to hold onto a small sort of glad—for the reaching out, for the having tried?
I'm thinking about my early morning weatherdude, assuming yesterday's script has already written today's. I'm thinking, too, that every dropped leaf presents an opportunity. Just listen to the way each one shuffles when your feet plow through.
But, by golly, I'm not turning that thermostat up for another 10 days!
| |People sometimes comment on how creative I am.HaHaHaHaHaHaHa!There isn't an original bone in my body. Those moments of cleverness? They're mostly stolen, not even on the sneak, from other sources. And usually those sources have been around a while (my keepers will tell you I don't get out much), although they may be brand spanking new to me.
For instance, my wonderful, anonymous friend who writes a fantastic blog all about Oregon, recently sent me a link to an article about found poetry cobbled together from the spines of books. I've written previously about the joys of cut-and-paste, so of course this had instant appeal for me. I quickly summoned The Genie Google and did a hasty search for book spine poetry, a search which came up with approximately 500,000 hits! A half a million? Hmmmm. Alas and alack, once again I've arrived at the ball long after the glass slipper's found its foot.
Little matter. A good idea's a good idea, and any day I can find a new way to get the poetic love juices flowing is a very fine day indeed. So I've been writing. Or more accurately, I've been stacking books, and the poems—somehow, miraculously—have been writing themselves. Cock your head 90 degrees and take a good look at those bookshelves of yours. You'll never see your books in the same way again!
THE SIMPLE TRUTH
you've just been told
you have time for this,
this clumsy living.
Looking for luck,
the light comes slowly.
Adrian Vaaler prepares to play "Taps"
I'll just say it: I'm lucky. Lucky to have come from a family relatively untouched by loss from war. So on this day, Memorial Day, my gratitude pours more from my head than my heart. It embarrasses me to write that, but what's true is true.
My mother, the daughter of Polish immigrants, was a first-class patriot. She understood—and felt deeply— what this country symbolized, despite its imperfections. In 1943, she saw her husband—my future father—off to a Navy destroyer in the North Atlantic. He returned. So many others did not.
My mother bore her children in the prosperity of those post-war years, and we were the beneficiaries. She tried to instill in us her loyalty to the flag, but her history was not ours, the lessons already a generation removed. Informed and influenced by the particulars of my own history, my patriotism is more guarded, more cynical.
And yet there it stands in that last sentence, preceded by its own and unapologetic possessive pronoun: my patriotism. My patriotism, which brought me yesterday, as is has for the past decade or so on this commemorative weekend, to the grounds of the Eugene Masonic Cemetery to hear Taps played at noon in the Public Square. This cemetery, quietly managed to honor its location's natural history, is home to the graves of many of our city's founding citizens as well as veterans of 15 decades of wars. To my mother, who made me stand up for the Stars and Stripes, even when they were passing on a television screen, I will say that your lessons did not go unheard. To the women and men who never lived the future I was fortunate to have had, I say "Thank you."
THIS YEAR, 2012, MARKS THE 150th ANNIVERSARY OF TAPS: