My Friday began at 4:47 a.m. when my sciatic nerve woke me up. I didn’t even know where my sciatic was until 8 days ago. Now we are very well acquainted. Frenemies even. There was no more sleeping after I woke up this morning because there was no sleep position in which my sciatic wasn’t a major player. I got up and went to the gym. Before 8 a.m. I had exercised, washed and vacuumed my car, walked the dog, yelled at a couple of sleeping kids, and showered. At 9 I had breakfast with a friend that included a 2 hour conversation that was better than cheese grits. From 12-3, I did my errands and chores. At 3:30, I pulled back into my driveway as Andrew’s birth mother called my cellphone. I took the call and knew it had something to do with a plan in the works for tomorrow. Plans were made, but in the meantime, we actually talked about stuff. For 10 minutes. And it felt like a thing I needed to notice and treasure. With that in my head, I ran in and typed a strongly worded letter that’s been on the list for a week. The words weren’t that strong. Nothing will come of it. But I checked it off the list. Sometimes that’s all that really matters to me. I picked Jenna up from school at 4:20 (I know. It’s a ridiculously late end time for a school. Don’t get me started.) Once back at home, I ordered some food for the kids and Brady picked it up for me so that I could get ready to go to dinner with Todd and friends. The dinner was as good as my breakfast had been. So many of my local people in one room, laughing and telling stories with plates of food in front of us. During my dinner, Brady and Lucy texted that they were going together to Lucy’s friend’s house to carve a pumpkin. Three people, one pumpkin. In the shape of a rat. Two hours later, while they were still doing that, I returned home, grabbed Jenna, and took her to Wendy’s because she hadn’t eaten dinner. The rest of the evening was baking. I made 3 desserts with Jenna while Hamilton music played in the family room. One of those desserts was requested by Andrew, who ran through the kitchen several times with a headset over his ears. He was delighted to see people preparing food and to get in on the action. Brady and Lucy returned home and wanted to discuss the rat pumpkin and eat whatever I didn’t slap their hands away from. At points, my entire family was in one room with music going and the dog asleep on the couch.

It felt like something out of a dream. A superlative day.
A Day in which almost everything felt exactly right.
The Day Most Likely to Succeed.
The Day I Will Remember as I am helping with college applications for a boy who carved a rat silhouette into a pumpkin with his younger sister and her friend.
The Day Where I talked comfortably to the Woman who gifted me her son 20 years ago, about that son and about her own family.
The Day I spent talking to friends about Heavy Things and Light Things.
The Day Two Very Drunk Golfers tried to pick up my Friend at Dinner and we almost had to Rough Them Up.
The Day I stayed up 21 hours without needing a rest.
The Day I ended by baking. With my children.
The Day I discovered there’s a Happy Days Channel on a free streaming service called Pluto.TV. (Sorry, kids. Mom doesn’t do laundry anymore. Happy Days is on.)
A Day where there was Magic in the Mundane Minutia of an ordinary, unscheduled Friday in October.

It was a superlative day.
And it felt like something out of a really good dream. But I know it wasn’t a dream.
Cuz it’s been a long time since I slept.

Seasons Change

I used to say that Fall was my favorite season. In truth, perhaps it is. But the older I get, the more I believe it is the change of the season that I appreciate, as much as the season itself. I have heard myself say this about all of the seasons. Summer brings long days and thunderstorms. More time with family or travel or sleep. Winter brings holidays and, for those of us who are heavy sweaters, less sweating. Spring brings new life. Baby ducks and gator sightings and a world that springs to life inside the bloom on the end of a stem.

But Fall.
Fall is special. It represents surviving the heat. And the first of the school year. It ushers in long sleeve fashions and pumpkins and costumes made for tiny people. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. High school football. COLLEGE FOOTBALL. All the football. All of it. I can smell the hint of a backyard firepit when I walk the dog in the late afternoon shadows that reach longer in the shifting light. The days are shorter and people huddle on their couches together instead of finding things to do outside. The stale air of August becomes crisp and friendly, like a side hug from a friend in stead of a backslap from a linebacker.

Every season has a soundtrack. Summer’s is thunder and squealing children. In Spring it is the call of every bird I didn’t know existed. In Winter it is Ella Fitzgerald and Bing Crosby. And in Fall, the soundtrack is the absence of sound. There is a hush I never noticed before. Why have I never noticed the quiet? I can hear it from my porch. I can hear it inside my house. With the dying cadence of the cicadas comes the quiet I can’t ignore. And wouldn’t want to.

Maybe you have to be 50 to hear it. Maybe you just have to be listening. Either way, I’m in.

a forceful quiet

September carries in a dry swirl
of waning light
and forceful quiet

Overnight the air has shaken off summer
and wears a different cloak,
deep gold, like liquid butter that drips through cypress branches and lounges reflected in a river that holds its breath.
Afternoon shadows yawn and stretch across the lawn as the hush leans in.
A forceful quiet that I can hear from any place if I am listening.

I am listening.