Tuesday, October 20, 2015


In an attempt to succor my uneasy spirit I took a walk to the heart of fall. The late afternoon was covered with a sleet sky, but leaves fell more than rain. It should have been a holiday out there. I suppose every day should be a holiday, but this one was the most colorful day of the year. That should be worth something special, shouldn't it? Spring can be full of color, but its lovely shades are relatively simple. Fall twists and turns in its colors. They go lurid and disappear and then become too strong for our eyes to see anymore. But the thing that always surprises me in the fall is that all those summer and spring colors are in there too. Purple and yellow flowers, fresh green leaves and grasses, the prairie is all still blooming right up to the frost. I picked a bright yellow flower out of a bank of a thousand of them and stuck it in the lapel of my long black coat. As I readied myself to scowl at anyone I ran into on my walk, or at least to studiously ignore them, they preemptively smiled sunnily at me, and I remembered my flower. Don't they know that the rain could fall anytime now?

The path hugs the edge of the river bluff. I scramble down a treacherous pitch to a short stream running towards the Mississippi. A giant cement pipe, overgrown and mossy, like something from the ruins of a civilization, runs down the center of it, and the broad top of it is the best place to walk. It is 90 percent wonderland down there, 10 percent wasteland. I come out on a wild bay of the river, with only a little garbage, and I watch the waves swirl in small, complicated patterns. Three ducks are there. We speak only polite acknowledgements. Tiny golden leaves fill the waters of the sheltered bay.

I climb a bluff full of rocks that are so convenient they are nearly stairs.  I am back on my ledge path over the river. We are before the part of fall where my feet are kicking musically through piles of crisp leaves, so my walk is quiet. The water of the river below backlights the fire colored leaves in a cool silver. I feel as if I am hallucinating. I am looking down into the sky.

I go back into my neighborhood; it is but five blocks from all of this to my house. I am talking to my blog the whole time. Out walking it is the same to me as thinking.

I open the door of my house and take off my shoes. I feel no different. My spirit continues tossing fitfully. But I have one bright yellow flower that I add to the vase on our dark brown table.


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