Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Now it begins to sink in. Something serious is going on. Trees are shedding their leaves at an alarming rate. Some are in yellow skirts already. New leaves need to be windshield-wiped off the windshield in the morning. It's a kind of epidemic. Zombie leaves skittering up on bleak sidewalks or falling in drifts. Some invisible agent orange stealthily at work. And the new early nightfall, that's sudden. Who cares if it's lighter earlier now? It's the other end that matters, the gloaming at 4:45. We'd forgotten. Now it comes back, like cold marsh water seeping into a leaky boot. It dawns, or dusks, on us, so soon after Halloween. Next month is December.

Brief, oddly intimate, encounter with bald African American man about my age, maybe a little older, on Charles St. subway station, both of us waiting outside for the outbound train. Your jacket collar, he said, and reached forward to adjust it. I thanked him as I fiddled with it myself. It's still... He straightened it for me. There you go.
Sometimes it's a worthwhile venture, getting into a stranger's space. My turn now. I noted that he seemed very well-groomed himself (nice wool sweater over blue shirt and tie). I try, he said proudly. Went on to tell me about the large number of battery-powered items he carried with him in his backpack. Because you never know. The bridge could fall, he said cheerfully. And do you take multivitamins? he inquired. I do, I said. He nodded approvingly. The train pulled up. I wasn't sure if I wanted more survival advice, but as it happened, we chose different cars. God bless, he said. Nice chatting with you, I said.

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