I’m wearing autumn on my heart this year. I empathize with the trees. I walk the neighborhood as I walk my life, looking for clues. I am uncertain. I notice the leaves that are still emerald, and others whose tips are already dipped in warm and bright colors. I witness a slow fade of vermilion and nod yes, me too. Change is coming, but what will the end resemble?
The arrival of a new idea or image for a poem propels me into such a fervor that my body feels exalted along with my mind. So much is wrong with the world, but so much of it is right, particularly the parts that seem to have spilled directly from the Creator’s hand! What are the chances that when I was born I would turn out to be me, to have the astonishing chances and choices I’ve had? Beauty, in any form or color, makes me sing and have hope. Can I ever be thankful enough?
I had wanted a cast iron skillet for a while, partly because I’d tried several recipes lately calling for a heavy skillet, and partly out of an atavistic longing, perhaps to return to or recreate some home-and-hearth security from the past. I also wanted one for the ability to make a breakfast specialty of the cook I used to share a kitchen with, a puffed wonder of eggs, milk, and flour that our cookbook called a German pancake.
When we moved away from Franklin, I said we’d never be able to return to such a small town with its small thoughts, but that was before I was so tired. I still wrestle with feeling like I sold out. I still don't know exactly how to live out the Isaiah 55 call in a small-town context. It's not as clear. The real dramatic, tension-filled moments of triumph or defeat are not as visible. Here, the beauty and affluence shadow the brokenness.
Wait — a book? All this — the tears, the sure-to-come-lecture from my mom, the imagined corpses — over a book? I was so relieved I laughed out loud.
But I shouldn’t have. Because in less than a week, I’d find myself up even later, again in my bedroom, having finished the book myself. And I’d be crying too, and I’d be holding the phone, though unable to bring myself to place a call, because I felt, as teenagers often do, interminably alone.