Sunday, October 26, 2008

Rum colored sun and warm buttery leaves

Is this still Indian Summer? Or just a dry, lazy fall when the sun shines with moderate warmth almost every day, but the frost creeps over everything at night? The leaves have most turned from green now, some yellow, some orange, some red, and a few millions of them shades in between: tumeric gold, lime mixed with lemon, russet red, bland pie-crust tan.

Maria and I walked to the university library yesterday, in fleece jackets that we unzipped once the hill blocked the wind and the sun was on our backs. The sidewalks were warm through the soles of my shoes, and the dried grasses along the walk crumbled crisply when I fingered them. It felt good to scuff the layers of cottonwood leaves underfoot and the wind played with us, grabbing handfuls more from the branches and scattering them over our rumpled path. Then a car would hum by, and a drift of dry, weightless foilage swirled after it in a quiet wake.

I want to decorate for Thanksgiving. I see fat miniature pumpkins and fragile maple leaves, dried to perfection. I want to trace my hand and try to turn it into a turkey. We need to warm up the apple juice and add cinnamon sticks, to make desserts full of walnuts and pecans and pumpkins and squash. We should rake the leaves and scatter them again, we should carve a pumpkin, just for fun, and let the candle-light smile at us while the seeds brown in the oven.

Poem for my mom, and pretty much everyone in my family

To Be Of Use by Marge Piercy

The people I love best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and wim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and themuck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that hels corn, are put in mueums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.