Everything Is Unsettled

These days, I feel like I’m brand new to weather.

For years, I have watched the sun, clouds, rain and snow track across glass, concrete and stone. I perceived weather in large blocks: cold today, rainy tomorrow, and stormy for my commute.

I was, as my friend Justin likes to say, “institutionalized,” hermetically sealed from the outside world. I lived in an always-comfortable 70 degrees cocoon of corporate comfort. My color palette was cool grays, midnight blues, charcoal blacks and caution yellow. 

These days, I am unfettered. I walk the girls to school. I take calls along the river. I bike to lunch, and grill for dinner. 

Everything is different.

I’ve been carrying my camera, trying to capture the moment when the season tips from emerald to pale green, then yellow, and finally, a fiery blaze of orange and red.

The leaves have been stubborn, though. Their transition has been nearly imperceptible – thus far anyway; difficult to tell, given that I’ve never lived here before, at least at this time, or in these conditions: a moment like none other in my or the world’s history. 

Or, just another fall on planet earth,

The increments are maddeningly slow. Most days the only changes I notice are hue, or humidity – a dapple of fog. It’s a steady attrition, though, a secession scarcely visible but for the evidence on the ground below.

Some days, I wonder, if in noticing I have changed the very nature of what I notice. Do I experience this fall differently because I’ve noticed? Because I’ve taken time to notice? Am I altering the fabric of time?

Either way, I am forced to confront how much I have missed all along; everything in those increments – gone forever. 

But then, I exhale, open my eyes, I imagine how much there is yet to see. To notice. And then to lose, and, maybe, find again. 

Tonight, a nor’easter is blowing through the Brandywine Valley, tearing summer from the trees and leaving just skeletons behind. In the morning, there will be downed limbs and shattered crockery. 

Tonight, though, it’s a beautiful sound: invisible waves of air, rushing and hissing through the trees, their leaves flapping and flagging and, finally, falling to the floor.

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