Morning lifts its shoulders, trees crane their necks and gape at the sky, a crow pounds its way through the thin air. Everything's a bit raw and ragged.
Here at the torn edge of Autumn. Looking backward and forward: longing for the long oven, the flare of heat and light; longing to have my bones and flesh eaten by the fire, and my breath set free to ripple in the air, up and away. I love that I don't know which way the wind will be blowing: whether the vapor will wander up over the Cascades or run south with the rain, up the valley toward the southern hills and the oaks. Or even run east with the cold stiff wind from the Columbia Gorge, and out to sea: I'd like that best of all.
So grateful for my work: for skin and flesh, for the beating heart and the blood flowing, the sweetness of palm and sole. The quiet breath, the invisible catch of a almost-snore, the lift of a chin when my thumbs rise up under the suboccipitals. Twilight, night-time, streetlights; the deft way I've learned to swing my table up on the pivot of my knee and toss it into the floor space between the front and back seats of the car, moving all that weight with almost no effort, feeling much younger and stronger than when I was, actually, young and strong.
Grateful for a warm bed and chill air, for the pad of Kiki's paws, through the covers, on the backs of my knees, at three in the morning. For unexpected bare skin, for hair settling onto my forearm, for inquiring sounds that never rise to words, and are met with equally inarticulate reassurances. For the sound of Tori rising at six thirty, and getting her breakfast. For the shuddering gasps of the garbage and recycling trucks as they trundle through the neighborhood, coming faithfully, every week, as evidence that we are a settled and prosperous people.
The autumn spiders are enormous; when you walk into their thick strands they break with a palpable ping. “I always feel bad about breaking their webs,” said our neighbor. “They work so hard!”