Saturday. Fall is coming, and it’s more than a hint on the edge of the wind. Wisps of gold curl around the lacy edges of the topmost leaves on our swinging tree out front. The breeze never really quiets completely, slowing to a gentle tickle but never still. Rain has soaked our valley, only to create a sauna when the sun later peeked out and dried the puddles into the heavy air. Woodsmoke floated over the cooling breeze last night, and that was the humdinger- that’s when I knew Fall had moved from sensory peripheral glimpses, forward to dancing a jig right beside the thorny, daring, late summer roses.
Next comes the harvest. Apples and pears and pumpkins, heavy and solid in their bushel baskets as we pull our wagons through the orchards. Combines will be threshing the golden rolling prairies of wheat as we wind our way home from the u-pick farms on the bluff north of town. I will have to shield my eyes from the low, lazy topaz sun as I once again explain the process of wheat becoming bread. When we get home, Bean will be bursting with excitement to get out the grinder and make some of his own flour, to stir into bread- nothing short of the master alchemist, to a five-year old. He will chew on the raw, yeasty dough with delight, while Jeffrey and Abby wash the tools for making applesauce.
School will start, and I will have begged my mother to help with buying the kids some shoes and things for their classrooms. Beanie will begin his days at the AIM Kindergarten School, joyfully riding the short bus as part of his therapy. Jeffrey will have a new teacher and all the adventure awaiting the perfection of boyhood that is the age of third-grade. Abby will be at home with me every day, probably feeling a little lost at first without her brothers to constantly lead her astray and into mischief. Perhaps we’ll work on knitting, or simple sewing skills. I know she’s only three, but her curiosity is insatiable. Then again, maybe she’ll finally have the courage to become master of her own bladder. The girl does things on her own timetable.
David will be at home, too. Twenty months. How much longer? Can I survive? Can I hold myself together more unknown months ahead? Am I ready for a second set of holidays with no job, no income, no prospects and very little hope left? Today? I cannot answer. I don’t know. I’m tired. My shoulders are weary and ache, and I want to set the whole load down and walk away. It’s not the way it’s supposed to be- husband and wife. Man and woman. We’re not meant to be together all day, every day, forever and forever. There must be space in our togetherness, lest our roots tangle, our shade harm the other.
What of me? I don’t know. I want to run. I don’t know. I stand still, and I don’t know.