Season's Change

Early October

What a strange time of the year this is….it reminds me of a Scott Upton painting or kind of like the hymn Amazing Grace.  There is an exaggerated quietness.  A familiar strangeness as summer dies... just surrenders to Autumn.  The weakened leaves are giving up and letting go of the life given them in the Spring.  We have the beginnings of exaggerated shadows.  A shameful sun retreats earlier and earlier into night, and this week we have a full moon... female energy. 

The light of the moon bathed the side of the house last night as we grilled out (Which was good because the outside light was burned out.).  The cicadas have abandoned the old Black Walnut tree by the house, but Jack and I could still hear them in the distant Pecan trees. Our dogs can feel the shift of energy, but don’t understand it. They look at me questioningly.  As in an electrical storm, I’m suppose to “fix” it.  Once the dishes were done, I checked my computer one last time and then we started closing down the house for bed. 

Sometimes when I’m almost asleep I feel as if I'm back in Black Forest again, in my bed or riding in the backseat of my family’s ‘63 Buick station wagon. I feel like if I open my eyes I could see Lizzie's and my bedroom or see my pretty forty year old mother in the front seat of the car, driving me to Colorado Springs.  I was a happy kid at this time in my life.  I was the only child in the family not in school (well, there was the baby, but I tried my best to pretend he didn’t exist).  During the day I was an only child.  The mornings were noisy… until the school bus arrived and my dad drove off in his Volkswagen beetle. Then the house became quiet…. I had my mother to myself.  My mornings would start down in the den eating my Cream of Wheat or Cap'n Crunch and watching Bozo the clown on TV.  Weather permitting, I would then get dressed and go outside until lunch.  The forest had a wonderful energy.  The winds would sometimes whistle loudly and mournfully through the trees all night long.  I would wake up in the morning to find that Jack Frost had painted beautiful designs on the windows…..there would be wonderful icicles and lots of snow.  I would join my mother in the basement as she’d iron, watching The Secret Storm and/or The Edge of Night.  We would also do exercises with Jack LaLanne. While cleaning the house she would sometimes turn on the stereo, playing Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass or Tommy Dorsey. I didn't like nap time.  My mother would lie down with me and close her eyes (I knew she was pretending to be asleep).  I’d circle her ears with my finger, I’d lift up one of her eyelids.  If she didn’t stir by that time I’d stick my finger up her nose! Well, I only did the nose thing once. Finally the big yellow bus would return and then later my dad’s car.

We woke slowly this morning.  I could hear Jack’s quiet steps in the den.  Delano jumped up on the bed and crept up quietly.  He climbed carefully onto my hip (I was lying on my right side with my knees slightly curled) and then brushed his whiskers against my arm.  I petted him slowly as he curled up into the crook of my waist and stomach.  The dogs, lying around the bed slept soundly. 

Delano’s a kind, but mischievious inside cat with a touch of devilment in him (he almost killed Jack, but that’s another story).  He’s careful to be gentle and to do his part in the household…. paying his way by tending to the plants (I wish he could water them!) and searching for anything that moves in the darkness of the night.  Little nocturnal lives in the house don’t stand a chance.  When the household is preparing for the day ahead, our cat, clad in his tuxedo, can be heard (and seen) doing his morning calisthenics.  He also keeps me company when I’m painting…. he can be critical at times…… not of my painting, but my ipod shuffle's choiceof music. 

Anyway, I’ve finished another painting today.  Signed it.  Painted the sides of two others. I’m looking forward to my next ambition.

- John