the last day of october, and it is all hallow's eve. goodbye, october. it is a quiet day here, as all days are now that both boys are gone, and i find myself missing the familiar halloween decorations that i used to drag out of the attic box, crawling on all fours backwards out of that tiny crawl space, every single year when they were small (and even not so, really). there were the sweet little artwork pieces they had created in school, the paper jack-0-lanterns that i would pull out and place back on the front of the refridgerator again, humiliating them (or so they said) but pleasing me to see their little innocent works of art come out of the dust and the dark for their annual show and tell. i loved the little kleenex and pipe cleaner ghosts that we'd hang on a twiggy branch from the yard, and a small porcelain ghost that, when a button was pressed, would go ooooooooooooooooo-oooo-oo over and over for maybe thirty seconds, supposedly irritating the boys in later years but i'd press that button anyway, whenever passing by. well, sigh. where is that orange and black cardboard box now, after we've moved? i know it is still with us, somewhere, but surely shoved into the farthest reaches of a place we cannot see. and so here i am, this morning, pulling out a long black scarf and ethel's glasses, and dressing up all by myself for a solitary photograph. it just isn't the same, all alone.
i'm spending many an afternoon sitting before the windows in the living room, watching the colors blaze hot and high, in the maple tree that flanks the deck just outside the house. sometimes a good breeze comes along and sends a lot of leaves flying sideways, all those yellow and orange bodies sailing and skittering in the air to land on steps and stairs and hillsides out from under the tree on which they grew. come back, i want to say. don't go! october hasn't been quite long enough, i'll miss you so! but still, they twirl and dip and sway, and off they go. they go. i want to get on the phone and call the boys and say, listen! do you hear it? but they won't know what i'm talking about: that little porcelain ghost, unpacked this year, or the rattling of the leaves, or the silence that falls every evening - poof - when darkness threads itself throughout the branches and then across the mountains and settles and drapes itself down around this little hollow where i am hunkered down, candles lit, listening to the sound of nothing and everything, going in and out and in again. it is a sweet sound, this quiet sound, and do not mistake this post for one of melancholy; but listen to me when i say that i am one who spends a lot of her hours thinking back, and thinking ahead, and also one who spends her exquisite time in the very present being happy for the here and beautiful now, for the way that it is balanced so delicately between the bittersweetly there and then.