Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Not Tonight

It has been gray and dreary and the clouds have been low enough that the geese are able to fly unseen through the mist, the heavy beat of their wings the only sound they make as they pass overhead. It has been a week of cold mornings, followed by windy nights which have shaken the buttery leaves from the elms, scattering them across the damp grass. Piss elms, we call them back home, because they are scrawny and spring up like weeds, but also because they are pungent and unpleasant to smell when burned. The Run is littered with them, now nearly naked, their rat-tail boughs and branches lonely against the hollow blue of the September sky. Duncan does not notice as he has been very busy--almost desperate--to tree the squirrels who undulate like sea serpents through the tall grass and the quilting of fallen leaves when he chases them. But I notice, first in the mornings when the crisp air drives the sleep from my eyes and then again in the evenings when the early darkness and smell of warm fireplaces makes me remember all my Autumns past.

Tonight, coming home to a dark apartment, cold because I refuse to turn the heat on, Duncan and Olive met me at the door, sitting as though they'd been there for an hour, shifting restlessly from one hip to the other, glancing at each other as though to say, "It won't be long now" and "Soon." Olive entwined herself around my ankles and Duncan grasped the cuff of my jacket in his warm mouth and the two of them led me to the bedroom where I kicked off my shoes and laid back on the pillows, still warm from where Winnie and Pip had nestled all afternoon. Duncan curled beside me, resting his chin on my shoulder so he could watch my eyes. Olive climbed onto my chest where she touched her forehead to my face, dipping her nose against my lips, purring softly and kneading my chest.

They know how hard Autumn is for me, especially this year. And as we cuddled on the bed, the light yellowing behind the low snow clouds already spilling down the foothills, they both seemed to tell me that tonight was mine, that tonight the wind could tap against the windows and the snow could fall, but they would keep me warm, and their gentleness would soothe these autumn pangs.

8 comments:

Scout 'n Freyja said...

You refuse to turn on the heat. I do that, too. It almost feels that once the heat is turned on winter takes that as an invitation to come in and not go away for months.

caboval said...

Oh I like that knowing your babies will keep you warm. Its almost nice to cuddle in the cold air! Good for sleeping too! It would be great to have a remote control to turn it on in the early morning huh? Hugs Joey and Kealani

Sierra Rose said...

Autumn! A beautiful and chilly time. Great to have those warm, friendly pals. Hoping Sierra Rose will turn in to a cuddly pal...not one that wants to snaggle-tooth me!

Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
Sierra Rose and her mom

Greg said...

Curt, my friend, you always choose the best words...and they are always such a treat.

I'm glad to know your kids are taking good care of you, as mine's done with me, lately. Hang in there, pal. After winter comes spring and then russian olives.

: )

Traci said...

Your words soothe me. Thank you.

Cheryl said...

Good to have you back on the blog. Autumn can be a wonderful time. It's what follows that gets me. God, I need to win the lottery so we can all go to Belize. mmmm!

Charlie said...

The pallid sun of the end of summer always makes me sad. Glad Dunc & co. are there for you!
- Anne

Anonymous said...

YOU hate Autumn? You oughta' have an Autumn that precedes a NORTH DAKOTA winter! This year though, an El Nino is brewing down south and that usually foretells a "mild" winter. ("Mild" is a relative term)
Dad