Mid-autumn snow in the foothills

Overnight the rain turned to snow and in the morning, made the lawns wet and patchy looking, the tree limbs bent back like bow strings. I drove Lily to the Park & Ride then walked down to the lake, remembering the one snow in Scotland we had this time of year, driving from Oban on the west coast back east to where we’d started our trip, in Edinburgh. How thrilling the light snow in the hills of Scotland, though it put Dawn’s teeth on edge, those narrow roads, our stick-shift—and when we finally arrived I had a hard time parking and broke the license plate on the car of a construction worker who saw me do it, but then said don’t worry, it’s OK.

I stood for a while watching the snow fall on the lake, the sky turned from dark gray to light—and walking home everyone had their pumpkins out still, though with the snow it all looked like a mistake. I took the witches down from the trees and fed the dog the remains of a steak. Though it was two years ago now, I wanted to retrace every leg of that trip. I imagined the colors were the same, that day we left Oban and the rain turned to snow, the day Charlotte got car-sick and I pulled over by a waterfall, scrubbed the soiled clothes in running water, bundled them in a plastic bag and threw it in the back of the car.

At our place in Inverness we celebrated Halloween but the Scots called it guising, they covered themselves in ash and went out to sing a tune or recite a poem, that was the thought: and maybe they were just frugal, but nowhere was anyone handing out candy to our kids, they came home with empty bags, and sunken souls. But the people who rented our flat had Monty Python and the Holy Grail on DVD so we watched that as a family for the first time and then driving to Oban Dawn shouted, that’s the castle!—and I pulled over, she was right: it was the same castle from the end of the film, and I posed by it in the mist.

I sat in my car by the light, the same spot I wept after the election last year, the gray skies, some gold and brown from the leaves. I was starting to change too; I enjoyed my job fully, it consumed me. I imagined how I looked, glazed over and distant behind the wheel, planning my day. I was feeling more important, more valued, it goaded me on. I did better work. It was like someone pumped me up with a foot pedal and I expanded to become larger, larger…

For the first time I went on a dinner with business partners and my client, though all the entrees on the menu were more than $50, and they were ordering bottles of wine, cocktails…I got the risotto (mistake!), but supped on raw oysters and Chablis, shared bread pudding with my client, walked her to the parking garage, remarked the snow line’s dropping to a thousand feet tonight…and when I came downstairs in the morning it was still dark outside but white, and I thought it’s about time we turn the clocks back again, I think it’s about time.

Categories: Memoir, travel

Tags: , , , , , , ,

7 replies

  1. You had an amazing Halloween which is very intriguing and fun. A usual, beautiful narration that touches the heart William and the description is so compelling.


  2. Wow, snow before daylight savings ends. Winter is icumen in.


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