Sunday, September 19, 2010

Longing My Life Away

In Southeastern New England we're at that point on the seasonal roller-coaster ride approaching the weightlessness of being. That is, the moment after the moment when you've peaked and are nearly starting down the incline-in a roller coaster I've often suspected if we could actually float in air, that would be the moment we would, but only for a moment.

It's the same with weather. The summer here is gone-we ended it officially two weekends ago, but the warmth of the sun and the mild days are still here, but they take longer to start and end sooner. When I leave in the mornings now for work I have a light jacket on for the first time in months, and the walk around the neighborhood our daughter, Michelle, and I make in the evenings at half past eight is now a lot closer to seven. I think it's the dying of the light that most disheartens me.

Saturday morning walking around the Spaulding Pond in the Mohegan Park we have in Norwich, with wonderful hiking trails, wide sidewalks and well-paved roads I could see far more autumn in the tree canopies overhead than when I was here last Saturday. In a couple of more weeks lots more of the sky will peek through as the leaves turn and then fall off and the bare limbs will eventually win out. That's when I'll stop coming up here.

Between Nature and the calendar, I'm being set up for the part of the year I hate the most-real fall, not the Indian summer part which doesn't fool, or mollify, me anymore but the slate gray sky and the chill in the air that makes it very clear winter is approaching. Winter (and you may find this funny) I can deal with-because I know spring and summer follow it. Fall is the hopeless and helpless season in my book. The inevitable decline and deepening dark.

I've been in a hurry most of my life-always rushing to somewhere or away from someone. The pace is less frenetic now, the strides more measured and labored. I passed a couple yesterday morning pushing a small child in a stroller and saw my wife and I with Patrick at the duck pond where Frankfurt am Main ended and Offenbach started. They/we looked so happy and the horizon was wide open. For us that would have been twenty-five or more years ago.

The high school girl who jogged past me, in the opposite direction, earbuds (we would have called them headphones) in place and a solemn face like a mask could have been our daughter Michelle, the picture of concentration as she practiced for her audition for her high school's musical honor society (and blew the judges away). That was a half-dozen years ago. The memories fade but the scars from the passing of time remain.

I was there for those moments and tens of thousands more but, like now (I imagine), I was thinking about other places and times. Just as we all do, I'm sure. "Now I sit by my window and I watch the cars. I fear I'll do some damage one fine day. But I would not be convicted by a jury of my peers-still crazy after all these years."
-bill kenny

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