Leaves in a book

The days end like that, the same way they begin, me on my side gripping a pillow, wondering what day it is. Walking the steps at work, up the parking lot floors: walls made out of cinder block, what it would feel like to touch them.

I flick the night light, the closet light, the bathroom fan, the shower. Feed the cats, the dog, pour the coffee. Time to write, to light a candle for some magic.

I walk to the lake with the dog and the leaves on the ground are no different than the days we try to save when we stop and look at them, think how pretty, tuck one in a book, and forget.

We are in the game of trapping moments, cupping them with our hands. Each is sacred on its own, put into a new context, framed on the ground: the leaf caught in its last moment here, caught on fire and fallen flat, soon to be raked up or blown away with the others. We save the leaf to preserve that moment and then it seems silly when we discover it later.

Over the hill as the rain is beaten back and a rainbow bends across the sky: how can it be that it looks real but you still can’t touch it? That it can be there for everyone to see, and not there at the same time. And how we can pass in and out of life feeling the same.

Categories: death

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

12 replies

  1. Whoa…
    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about nostalgia and what a powerful emotion it is, and how it maybe becomes even more, if not powerful, then resonant than even love as we grow older. Not sure what I’m going to do with these thoughts.


    • Yes keep thinking about it and do something with it. I heard a singer on NPR who released a record called Nostalgia, the idea ‘you can’t go back.’ If you’re to compare nostalgia as an emotion with love, they both have filters don’t they? Something about the prism of time, for nostalgia — how the good old days seem better, perhaps because they’re gone and our time to love them is too.


  2. Thanks,Bill…this one hit home.


  3. but we do leave something behind, and that can be children, a creation, a memory in someone else’s mind…


    • True, but it’s more complicated for me and I haven’t figured out how to talk about it yet, hence this blog ‘coming out’ of themes I’ve been chewing on for a while now. What I’m getting at is the loss of self and identity that’s not altogether freeing or healthy, but alienating. There can be a freeing kind of selflessness, a letting go, but also a kind of loss of identity (even through having kids, as you have probably experienced yourself) where you step back and wonder who you are, independent of the other people and circumstances around you. Something in that painting by Edvard Munch, The Scream maybe…some kind of universal predicament that says WTF and who am I, now? Sorry. It’s only a Wednesday and I should chill out, save this shit for the weekend or a Monday maybe.


      • no, i think you have to think about it, and poke at it when the urge strikes you. i guess i just see the world differently, i know it is all temporary and that everything is fluid, and i accept that.


      • Darn right on all accounts – fluid, temporary, and different. Thanks Beth…good campfire talk, I think. Better than through keyboards. Thanks for being there! – Bill


  4. Hello,

    As I read your blogs, I smile at the cleverness of this and that. Your descriptive use of words paints pictures, real pictures I can feel. I get hooked. Your phrasing is interesting and keeps me drawn in until the last sentence.

    I’m learning from you.





    • Hi Glenda – thanks so much for your kind words, and taking the time to share. I’m learning as I go to, and also from what resonates with people like you…so thanks for your readership! It means a lot and I’m glad you’re enjoying my posts. Best, – Bill


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