about bliss

Monday, September 07, 2009

daily bliss: bittersweet

Friday: the neighborhood is awash in haziness. The Western sky suggests a watercolor pastel painting, each shade of sky and clouds, of trees and ponds, melding into one another under a gentle fuzziness. 

My feet trace the steps of so many summer days, following the sidewalk's curves under trees that are beginning to turn from green to gold, unleafing themselves over lawns. 

I stop by the elementary school playground and pull myself aloft on a swing, pumping my legs until I reach that shimmering moment of queasydizzyecstasy, and shiver my way back down to the ground. Gradeschool aged girls, playing on the other swingset, tease one another, "do you have a boyfriend?" they ask one another amidst peals of giggles. Yes, I want to answer, imagining one of those girls is my lovesick fourth grade self always watching from the outside as other girls walk hand-in-hand with the cute boys to the edge of the playground and—some of them—beyond. 

In a spot of undeveloped long grass, a family of deer sits, munching the blades, turning their pert heads this way and that to watch me watch them. 

As I meander by the pond, swarms of gnats and lake flies fill the air with so much mad life, or lust, I'm not really sure. I watch a graceful, long necked bird sweep through the air, hovering just over the water's edge. 

The neighborhoods are quiet at first, and then loud music bumps out of a room here, and a voice breaks into laughter there. "Come on over Sunday, we're going to fry out," booms one man, from a screened porch party. From an upstairs window I hear "Hi!" yelled by a brave boy, right on the edge of puberty, his voice betraying his hormonal tumultuousness. "Hey Blond Girl!" they all yell and giggle, as I, already walking by the next house, raise my hand in a wave.

The mainstreet is lined with flags to celebrate one more summer holiday, the last in the trifecta that marks the passage of time from Spring's potential through Summer's fruition to Fall's harvest.

I feel a collective effort to savor this long, last weekend of Summer before Fall demands our attention, with vibrant color and inescapable intensity, with heartier fare and savory vegetables. With school days and football games, increasing grey skies and chilly nights. Corduroy and cashmere, clogs and heels. 

I pack my weekend bag with the fabrics of summer: light cotton tees and dresses, khaki shorts and miniskirts, shiny spandex bathing suit tops, sandals. I add in the layers of fall: fleece, scarves, hooded sweatshirts. 

Saturday and Sunday: We drive North, and the road through the reservation pops with autumnal color. The hot days quickly give way to chilly nights, which we stave off with warming beverages and hot campfires. Sunday night we all settle around the fire, laughing, talking on the surface and diving deep. Slowly, we leave the circle of the fire and settle into sleep, knowing that the morning will bring about a bittersweet ending to this last fling with Summer's sun.

Monday: We drive South, and think of fall. Somehow, the colorful trees seem more prevalent today. The coffeehouse radio station obliges our quiet introspection with a steady stream of quality songs, old and familiar, new and true. 

I climb the stairs to my apartment and ignore the bags that need unpacking. I recline on my couch, willing a little daytime sleep to come, but despite the fullbodied tiredness after a long weekend, my eyes won't stay shut. I lace up my walking shoes and head outside, determined to drink in just a little more sunshine. 

I cook dinner, check in with my parents and brother, all of whom I dearly miss. I have to remind myself that work beckons tomorrow, that students are submitting their first paper drafts. My brain can't quite wrap around this return to responsibility, and all I want to do is blog and journal and daydream just a little while longer...


Potential. Fruition. Harvest. 


Spring. Summer. Fall. 

Looking for my new rhythm. Trying out this new balancing act. Thinking of my favorite yoga poses—half moon, tree, dancer—which rely on drishti (focused gaze), balance, and a letting go of fear-of-falling.

I bake a bittersweet chocolate souffle—tackling a dish that requires, above all, patience, to allow the air to expand in a glorious breath, allowing the cakes to rise to such great heights and nevermind the fall. A touch of sweetness with an edge of something a little sharper and bitter, like the crisp note of autumn air after a warm summer day. My heart aches, wanting just one more moment, day, week, month of summer enchantment...

I oscillate between acceptance of the changing seasons and longing for summer to linger. I ride the edge of liminality, I sojourn in the spaces in between...

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