A pinch and a punch for the first day of the month. No returns.
Autumn has arrived, the air is crisp in the mornings, and the winds have shifted around, blowing from the Northeast. There are an obscene amount of Halloween decorations going up all over the neighborhoods, blow up pumpkins, ghosts, and strands of fake cobwebs. Pumpkin Spice something is at every market and casual restaurant. Even Kenneth across the road has decorated for the season with a lovely Autumn wreath next to his door. I like Fall. I like the sunny days and the cooler temperatures. I enjoy the colors in the trees, the smell of leaves, and the comfort of warm clothes and blankets in the evening. It feels like the pace should get a little slower, more time to sit around the fire pit in the evening with friends, just telling stories and enjoying a nice bottle of Red. As the nights get darker earlier, the pressure to do more, work on, lessens, and it suddenly feels okay to just stop.
This weekend has felt a little like a pause for my wife and I. She has been quite the adventurer of late, flying about the country and exploring new territories – by which I mean thrifting her way across Nevada. Yet, it wasn’t the many shops and vintage markets which filled her stories about her trip. I am sure she could have bored me to tears with descriptions of each shopping excursion. But, thankfully she did not. Instead, she talked to me about the landscape, its long expanse unspoiled by ratty billboards. The roads. The lakes. She described the town, the casino. We talked about the slot machines, the sadness there but also the hope and dreams. Mansions, she said, untouchable and private, lined the lakeshore with private beaches. And then there was the tattoo event, an event that has gone from a fleeting thought to a strong desire over a decade and only now fulfilled on this westerly adventure with her longest American friend.
As I live through her stories, I have to think that out of every day there is that one moment for her. A place, smell, person, and it surrounds her memory and could be discussed with flourish so colorful that any listener can see and feel it with her. So for all of us, there has to be that moment in every one of our days. Or, maybe, it can be a series of moments. The hope is that this moment is something that is joyful, serene, even jubilant. However, I know, and have lived days that such things are not so shiny and bright. Yet, in every day, happy or not, there is a moment I am sure of that.
As I think about this weekend, I can think of a few moments for me yesterday. Out of all of them, it’s the thought of being at two thousand feet in Red, banking to the left over a small river that runs down into the Ohio River Valley. The sun sparkles on the surface of the water. There’s a farm down there, the farmhouse roof is red, and it contrast against the yellow gold fields, and green trees that line the river. The air was smooth, and Red flew in a perfect coordinated bank, engine running smooth, and that farm and river became emblazoned on my memory. I can also remember the landing after that flight, and though it was a good landing, it made me work for it. But no, the moment of yesterday was that left bank over the farm and the river.
For today, there can only be one choice. My wife and I took Mad Max for a cruise for breakfast and a little shopping at Target. All that was good (except for the amount of cash dropped at Target), Max was running strong and the cooler temperatures made the cruise quite pleasant. But the moment? Well, that came as we returned home. She slid over in the bench seat. I wrapped my arm around her as she laid her head on my shoulder. The joy of cruising in the old Chevy with my wife sitting beside me as if on our living room couch, well that was pure joy. The sound and vibration of the engine, the light breeze, and the smell of my wife’s shampoo. That feeling is something you can’t bottle. That feeling is truly indescribable. You have to live it.
So it’s Autumn. It’s time to slow down. But we know that doesn’t really happen. Work is work. Life is life. Just remember in all the turmoil, there will be a moment in each and every day. Remember it. Love it. Hate, cry or laugh with it.
Just don’t forget that moment.