Wednesday, November 05, 2014


The sadness comes with the turning of the leaves. I pause on the aggravations of the moment, consider writing something pissy about wishing the Obama administration had let the banks collapse, since the apparently the only thing that will school Americans is a full-blown depression. But I turn from it in disgust. One more ignorant voice is not what's needed: I would only add to the confusion. For my own sake, too, better to stick to things I actually know. Which boils down to a few periods of English literature, and the lurches of my heart.

Listen to the wild patter of the drums, up at the high range of my hearing, a skirling accompaniment to my tinnitus. Someone is always playing, up away behind my shoulders somewhere. A beat to quarters, maybe, but no one has told me what the fight will be about. Maybe you're told after it's all over, in the quiet aftermath? Maybe.

Last night I rubbed the wool-socked feet of an old man, a man so old he's outlived his hospice assignment. They were willing to help him die, but if he's just going to live and live, he'll have to make other arrangements. He's deafer than I am, and we make a fine comedy team, since neither of us likes to ask for clarification, and both of us tend to mumble. It's a fine illustration of -- something, but it also goes to show why I'm in the business I'm in: his feet speak to my hands perfectly clearly, even through the wool, and we sit companionably by the November woodstove. His wife makes intermittent attempts to bring us to a verbal understanding, but we mostly ignore her. We'll stick to the wool. She'll get her massage later, on the table, her bathrobe over the top of the blankets for extra warmth. It's turned cool. The Fall here at last.

Is this sadness? It's the stock word for this slowness, this awareness of time passing and things falling away. But I don't really regret anything, or wish anything was otherwise. I still have this yen to explain things, to tell you how it really was, before it disappears; but I feel that I've been -- in this regard -- neatly boxed into silence. Encysted, so as to cause no trouble to the fleshly grass. There are worse fates: but there is still a faint tickling, an itch to be understood. And meantime, the leaves are flushed with embarrassment and delight, giddy and trembling on their high branches. This, they say, is their prime: and who's to say they're wrong?


rbarenblat said...

When I had a massage recently I was amazed at how the massage therapist, upon touching my feet, intuitively understood exactly what was wrong and what was needed.

Your description of the leaves flushed and giddy and trembling is gorgeous. Thank you.

Dale said...

We all have nervous systems, and being social critters we process an enormous amount of information through touch. Or anyway, we do if we take the time to lay on hands and listen with them :-)