Happy Fall Equinox!
Free Falling, Two Poems
I keep remarking that the days seem cleaved,
six hours have become three,
you are home from school already?!
My children in turn ask me what I did all day.
I painted the hall, not a poem written,
although I intended one and
a dozen tasks more.
Driving to town I am annoyed
at the maple trees in the median,
their green slurped
in what seemed a single evening.
I imagine an orgy of root dwellers,
straws deep in xylem and phloem.
Nature is reminding me of the big box stores-
Christmas decorations while I am still
searching for the perfect bathing suit.
I don’t remember receiving an invitation,
Come mingle! Open house on Main Street,
cider and pumpkin donuts will be provided!
Perhaps it is growing older,
I imagine at eighty the seasons will turn
at the speed of a ferris wheel.
I am afraid I will be asked to step off,
protesting, it all happened so fast,
I was hoping to press leaves this year.
I hop on my bicycle as a remedy,
stop pedaling to watch them pirouette.
I ride in the gutters,
alleys of cushioned cadmium.
My homesteading son and his lady
are living with us, for the first time in years
our apple trees have been pruned and tended.
They responded in kind,
suddenly each laden branch is a responsibility,
a Saturday morning canning at the stove
(first googling, of course, how to).
I watch my once-boy slide the fruit on the slicer,
a simple invention that hasn’t changed
much with time.
It takes about twelve cranks to produce
the shoelaces of peel.
Joining him, I am cataloging a new
(to me) library of rhythms,
simple chores that we all once knew-
stacking wood, raking leaves,
the sound of berries filling a bucket.
He swats his siblings’ hands who reach for
the sweeter dried apples with the explanation,
“we are saving the season.”
These kids who have grown up with
lemons and avocados
in Pacific Northwest shopping aisles,
who can have strawberries on waffles in December,
know little of restraint and restriction.
He plans to augment our healthy harvest
with “gleaning,” gathers fallen apples
from the roadside and tosses
the soft ones to cluckchuckling chickens.
Before this year,
I prided myself on waiting until October
for my first pumpkin spice latte,
knowing full well the syrup sat in warehouses
for ten months prior.
Now, I am coming home to ivory waves,
wild harvested chanterelles,
who pop up literally like mushrooms after a (fall) rain,
pose on the kitchen table.
I venture to nip thinning rosemary
from the neighbor’s sidewalk planter.
I keep remarking
imagine if there were no grocery stores!
As the chisel flies,
the greatest sculptor, Time,
readies to reveal the bones of winter.
I want to sheer sheep and buy knitting needles,
wear aprons with pockets I can fill with rose hips.
I want to be animal once again,
want to feel I’ve earned the security,
have calluses to remind me
I will survive the next season.