More Adventures (Ch. 16)

This is how it is. There is a kiss of color in every leaf, but it’s only really detectable when seen en masse. At sunrise this morning: hills of soft amber give only a nod to the greens of summer. By dusk this evening, lime green bleeds into yellows, the hint of pink. In the same way, three doe graze in the lower field at first light, golden in the lighted mist. A different group come at dusk with one buck, camouflaged gray in the fading light. At breakfast, I can see my breath out on the porch. My scrambled eggs chill within moments and I do not care because oh, the sensation of goose bumps, the freshness of cold, and yes, Fall, Fall, Fall.

It’s not all in the colors, though. Once the air has chilled and reclaimed itself from the grips of humidity, it becomes immediately direct—spring water safe. Walking to the truck this morning, it is as though I can see clearly for the first time in months; here a fleck of mica, there a dying jewelweed, here a piece of quartz. By late morning the world is bright, each rooftop a ray of refracted light bending back onto itself, each hubcap a dizzying delight of pure fascination as it rolls, spins, whirls along the road from one township to the next.

But somehow, there are other things. There is the nature of nature and there is human nature. It is lunchtime and I am not nervous, but still, I say it:

“I’m not going to write about this.” We’re at a local restaurant. I order salad. J orders the special. “Seriously, I’m not going to,” I insist.

J smiles, a good smile, then laughs easily. His features are soft though his stature is chiseled, almost Bunyonesque. But, Oh, be careful. Do not romanticize.

What does he say next? I can’t recall, only that it is easy, only that it’s lovely to meet someone new and not have to travel far in physical distance or frame of mind to make it come together.

There is more. Past jobs, past relationships. Grad school and companionship. Coffee vs. beer, movies vs. television, indoor plumbing vs. outdoor plumbing. And all the while there are two conversations: The one I’m having and the one I’m writing in that endless scroll that carriages across my mind’s eye, ceaselessly assessing and incorporating. The same scroll that is measured by the beats of my heart, the rhythm of my breath, the cadence of my comfort.

Today, that scroll is split-brained.

1. Hey it’s lovely knowing you’re out there, just on the other side of the mountain, living by similar means, holding similar values. But we’re both busy…would there even be time to hang out? Connect? Make our lives overlap to form some basis of friendship? I’m an all or nothing kind of woman, see.
2. Hey, it’s lovely knowing you’re out there, but my heart-mind-body could really use some romance about now. Cooking dinner in for the evening, a little of Paul Simon’s “Negotiations and Love Songs,” a little singing or reading poetry out loud. A little cuddling for Chrissakes, every woman needs some cuddling. I’m an all or nothing kind of woman, see.
3. Hey. What am I doing? Do I really have time to get to know new people? Does he? I’m not looking for a glorified pen pal. I’m not looking for another here-and-gone. I’m looking for regular, comfortable, soothing (and yes, requiring work at times, goddamnit). But remember the present moment. Come back to it. Settle there for a while. Chill out. The present moment is an all or nothing kind of lifestyle, see.

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