I’ve always loved the fall. The variety and veracity of color, a vibrant landscape of warm, rich colors, sending a message of pensive brilliance against clear sky.
The air cools, and the days shorten. I don’t like the additional darkness, waking in blackness and finishing the dinner dishes to a backdrop of black sky. But I chop vegetables and garlic for soups to warm the soul and bake breads so the house smells enveloping.
As I drove the kids to school this morning, I noticed that leaves are crisping and colors fading to similarity. Soon, I told them, the leaves will cover the ground and the trees will be bare crooked arms aching toward the sky.
And it occurred to me then that fall is fleeting, this beauty, this moment, a stamp of artistic brilliance so brief. Oh the metaphor.
I wanted a fall wedding, silky white dress diamond-like against a backdrop of autumnal color. But family obligations on both sides forced me to marry in the dog days of summer, relegating our outdoor pictures to the blacktop of the hotel’s curving driveway, the only color coming from hand-planted gardens of ordinary flowers.
With that marriage ended, I say now that if I ever marry again, it will be small and quiet, on an island beach, with a woman facilitating a simple ceremony. I am tired of dreaming.
When I was married, I had fairly frequent dreams of my college love. They were always passionate and I woke, fraught with trepidation for what it meant.
I don’t dream anymore. Or if I do, it’s something benign and hilarious. I certainly don’t spend any time analyzing the meaning behind it – especially since a therapist once told me all characters in a dream represent different facets of the dreamer herself.
It’s been nearly two years since I last visited Israel. Now, when I think of my children spending consecutive days with their father, I plot my next adventure. I’ve never hiked in the Banyas. I’ve never visited my favorite place alone. I’ve never woken to Shakshuka and Leben without a baby to feed, someone else’s minutes to count.
“Mommy, can your sweet tooth fall out?” Asher asked me yesterday.
On the way to school, he asked why the penguins don’t fall off Antarctica if it’s on the bottom of the world. After gravity and the magnetic pull, the conversation found its way into space travel and astronauts and aliens, which Asher insisted aren’t real.
“Well, we don’t really know that for sure,” I said.
So he and Eliana then put forth for the rest of the drive to school about the life and trials of space aliens.
“If you were an astronaut, they could come into your spaceship and kill you,” Eliana said, eyes wide.
“That can’t happen,” Asher said. “Because they only stay in their own spaceships.”
His sister nodded at his gospel.
“If they touch you, you get a rash,” she said definitively.
At school, I hugged them out of the car and placed them squarely on the sidewalk. As I drove away, the sky was charcoal gray but in its eastern corner, a painting of yellow, orange and white clouds carved a half-moon of brightness in the morning.