Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Our Old Boxcar

It's the day before the day after my birthday, and I have been doing nice things for myself. To wit: finishing a couple of excellent crossword puzzles; playing a lot of 40s vintage Sinatra; lingering over lapsang souchong tea and English muffins; reading a bouquet of birthday wishes from friends on email; and now sitting in the coveted bentwood bench overlooking Spy Pond.

The trees on the opposite shore and on Elizabeth Island are old gold, bronze, copper and maroon, layers and layers like breads in a bakery. The colors seem to bring the trees closer than when they were all more or less the same shade of green. However, you need to shade your eyes to see them well. Otherwise you get a glare of old gold, even with the overcast sky.

I wasn't going to write a birthday blog—hence the pre-day post yesterday. But it turned out to be another nice thing to do for myself. I need to note. Not sure why that is. A justification for being here, perhaps. I note, therefore I am. Or a justification for here—it is written about, therefore it is. Also an effort to keep up with time. I describe, therefore it slows down. (Nature seems to enjoy the publicity.)

And it is my day: might as well own it in writing, like a shopkeeper taking inventory, if briefly. So let it be told that today was warm and I put out our two pumpkins on the front steps, later than most people have—a big one and a little one. Houses, it seems, crave pumpkins like candy corn. One of these years I'm going to get a big round one and a narrow one and outfit them with a couple of derbies and carve Laurel and Hardy jack o' lanterns out of them. I'll bet someone already has.

We are still below the Leaves Dropped tide line on the New England foliage map. But it's getting closer. Mostly individuals drifting down to their mates. The sidewalk midden is looking shuffleable, if not outright crunchable. And the day was handsomely served by the earnest, dove-gray overcast, a herd in important, benign motion.

Speaking of benign, Robert Benigno is in my boxcar of birthday mates. His animated leaps do not seem to bother Emily Post in the least. There is a poetry jam underway between Sylvia Plath and Dylan Thomas, who of course is reading "Poem on His Birthday." And John Cleese and Nanette Fabray did a very entertaining version of "We're a Couple of Swells," almost as good as Astaire and Garland. I'm hoping they can convince Teddy Roosevelt to do "Triplets" from The Bandwagon with them, which Fabray knows very well, of course.

This boxcar is bigger than it looks. And the view of October out the open doors—fantastic.

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