This is a piece I wrote yesterday.
Do you remember the feeling of fall as a child?
Do you remember the smell of leaves and sharpness and a stiff breeze and the feeling that if you stand still, you might actually feel the earth turning, tilting, realigning itself with the sun?
Do you remember how the wind would be a constant? And when it picked up, you heard the dry and brittle leaves clap their hands and fall to the earth to rest on a bed of moss, and the garden flag makes a whumh noise and somewhere there is a squirrel chattering and acorns dropping? Do you remember the leaves skittering across the driveway on their tiptoes, and a hawk in the distance making its round cry and a crow answering it? The flagpole would clink and all the plants would be dead except for the mums, which would burst in yellows and oranges and whites. And you would crouch down next to the mum and the wind would pick up and there would be a fuzzy worm holding onto the bloom for dear life and the leaves would clap and dance and the hawk would cry and you would have chill bumps on your arms. And then you would get up and run to the other side of the yard, just to do it, because running is fun and it makes you gasp and when you gasp you can taste fall and it’s spicy but kind of warm. Then there’s this instant when the wind just sort of dies down, but it’s still there, because this is fall and the wind is always there. But in that strange silence you would stand on the moss with leaves underfoot and watch a robin and see how close you could get, but it always hopped away just when you thought it didn’t see you. Do you remember that? Do you remember when you went back inside, and everything was quiet and your footsteps seemed loud and you missed the sound of the wind and the squirrels and the birds? You couldn’t wait to go back outside. You ate as fast as you could and then ran back out to experience it all over again. You would pick a dandelion leaf and nibble on the end, and you would pick a wild onion and eat it whole, dirt and skin and grass and all. You didn’t mind these bitter foods because you were outside and you were wild and you knew how to survive out here, even though normally you hate onions and bitter lettuce. And you would pick pokeberries and smoosh them and make ink because not only were you wild, you had a civilized side too and you wanted to leave records for your descendants, who would inherit your wide-open kingdom of sky and moss and leaves. Do you remember how content you were to be alone outside? How you dreaded going back in and having to talk to your parents or your sister, because it was so peaceful and loud out there, in your wide-open world? Do you remember the color of the sky? The yellow leaves shone like jewels against it when they fell. You would lay on your back and feel the soft moss below you and the crinkling leaves around you and inhale deeply until your nose burned from the smell of leaves. You would watch the leaves fall in a lazy spiral and hope one would land on your face. Do you remember that weather where you didn’t know whether to wear pants or shorts? Do you remember how sometimes you started out in a jacket and in an hour you were sweating from running like a wild fawn?
Do you remember?
Why would you ever want to stay inside?