As a special Halloween treat, I’ve made this post into an audio file that you can listen to, rather than read. If you want to do both though, hey, I’m not gonna argue with you.
Cold and Winter are pressing in on us. Winds are blowing bringing in the new weather. The sun is sleeping earlier, and we have adjusted our clocks for more darkness in our lives. Still, in our best times, we bundle up and venture out into the weather that has chosen us, we hold the hands of the ones who join us and still find unbelievable beauty and learn things we did not know.
This week, I’ve asked myself a lot about what I’m doing. I know I’m frequently talking about it, but this week has given me extra pause, wondering what path I want to take with myself, where I want to go, what I want to do. It’s like I’m on a walk, figuring out where my destination is as I go. I’ve got some idea, some prior knowledge, but what I find along the way is going to tell me a lot about where I want to go.
So, this week has made me think a lot about my life now, and a life that could be later. I’m sure you have these moments. Something really sends you inter hyper gear analyzing everything about your life now, what you want, how happy you are. Time slows down during these days, and even if you are doing less, you pay more attention to it. But, you also sort of see your life as an observer. I’ve found myself narrating what I’m doing, no matter how mundane or exciting it is. Do you ever do this? It can seem like a movie about your life, if you find the right soundtrack. I found this listening to a podcast of All Songs Considered starting with a walk to the pharmacy to get an antibiotic for Allyson, specifically during a song by Grouper called “lighthouse.”
I’ll just go ahead and que up the song now….here we go, and here’s the walk:
I wish there more sidewalks in Murray. The ground is still wet from the rain earlier this week. Plus I’ve got to yank the dog over into the grass with every oncoming vehicle. I’m glad I’m taking him out though. We haven’t been walking in a few weeks. I’ve thrown the tennis ball with him a couple times a day, which he loves, but there’s nothing like walking. God, Digby’s such a great dog.
This wind is strong and cold today. It’s supposed to get as high as 34 miles per hour. It’s magic, though when it picks up and swirls around. The leaves start dropping in mass, and they swirl around in the sky like paper raindrops. There have been times this week when I’ve stood out in the grass and held my face up to the sky and just let them fall across me. The downed leaves run across the road like little cockroaches with no legs. That shaking sound is like the ground shivering. But we’re warm right now, this wind feels good.
In some ways, it feels like I’ve only been here in Murray a short time, but I know these streets and side-streets so well now. I can take you on the best diagonal path to get from our house on 15th street to Walter’s Pharmacy on 12th. I remember when Allyson and I used to walk this way down 15th to visit Amanda when she still lived here in her little white house. She always had coffee and tea for us and always set up the table like our meal was special when we sat down to eat. I hardly walk this way anymore, but every time I do I have the feeling for a second that I’ll stop at Amanda’s.
Ah, there’s the wind again. Damn, it goes great with this music. It feels like slow motion. Come on, Digby, stop sniffing the garbage can.
It was windy like this Tuesday but warmer. There was sun and some clouds too. I hung the laundry up to dry, and it danced in the back yard. I laid down on the bed, next to the window. It was the perfect nap day. I was tired from work, from being up late, and getting up early. There was the peaks of sun, the shield of the clouds, that soft wind. Ah, that wind is still blowing. Something is coming. Something is waiting to be discovered around one of these corners.
Come on Diggs, we’ll cut across the bank parking lot. Wave to the cars in the bank parking lot, be courteous. It’s nice that they are paying attention to us. I think having a little dog with me helps. I wonder if they’ll give us a second thought after we pass. I wonder if we’ve shared some important kindness that will stay with them through the day, with me through the day.
The people in the pharmacy love when I bring Digby inside. I smile at people more, because I know he warms their hearts.
It looks like we’ll be home in time to have the soup ready for Allyson on her lunch break.
Digby, come on, forget the telephone pole.
Ah, that ghost that’s suspended on that porch with the black cloak. The wind is blowing it in waves, and I know this is weird, but it’s dancing to the music. Wow, that’s beautiful. Diggs, let’s stop and look at this for a minute. This won’t happen again.
Katie and Quint are here now for our Saturday trip to Garden of the Gods. I’ve gotten to know this place so well lately. I love to take people places. I love to show them things they will remember. Quint drove onto the Ohio River ferry. We’re out , standing near the rails, feeling the wind from the river, looking at the cliffs, the fall trees, and that blue, blue water. That cold air is waking me up, making me feel younger.
At the edge of a cave, there are drumbeats from inside. I know this sounds like a weird dream, but there is a band in there. They are on tour in Southern Illinois and out exploring. They said the sound in the cave is great, and they had to get their instruments in there and play. We walk around the cave with a band. There are holes in the ceiling of the cave, and sunlight is streaming in. There are passages and graffiti. The rocks have been smoothed by people walking and touching them. I am touching them. I am sitting on a perch looking out on the Ohio, wondering how many people, how many centuries have done this too. The band has a big dog, who seems like a puppy. He wants to play with Digby very badly.
I am back at Garden of the Gods with friends and my wife. Allyson loves to climb on the rocks, so do I. I can see the grains of sand of this rock. It is sandstone. It used to be the silt that a delta brought to an ocean, but it spent so much time underground being heated that it turned to this rock, then was pushed up and revealed again by wind and rain. This beach rose from the dead as an 800 foot mountain. We sit on these rocks and watch the sun and trees. The band from the cave is here too, with their dog. We jump crevices in the rocks with 100 foot drops. Digby is scared. He wants to be brave, because he wants to be with us so bad.
We watch the sunset on a cliff. We make fire, we cook, we laugh and ask questions. I have been asking questions all this week. The wind blows enough to ensure the fire will burn and catch the wood we’ve gathered. We walk back under the moon. I have saved pictures in my mind of this time that I’ll replay like home movies. I’ll see my brave, strong Allyson having just climbed a tall rock looking out over the valley. I’ll see Katie and Quint’s kind, smiling faces on this fantastic day in this windy week of changes. I’ll see Digby determined to be my companion wherever we go.
There will be dancing tonight. There are friends who have chosen us. That black, dancing ghost belongs to Nicole and Jeff, who invited us for food. I didn’t know it was theirs that I was passing their house earlier. We met some of their friends. Sue is from Chicago and has lead a crazy, amazing life. She said should could tell I was a good guy. That she got a positive feeling from me.
Here we are now, back at the house from the walk. It is getting colder. We knew this would come. We will put on another blanket and draw close. As we twitch, slightly resisting the night’s sleep, I’ll keep replaying this, keep asking myself about it. It was a beautiful week, wasn’t it?