When Every Leaf Is a Flower

dry cleanerI’m aware the autumnal equinox was a week ago, but only today did I register the hopeful, rueful pull of fall.

The sun rose late and I with it. I’d been out uncharacteristically late the night before—driving back into the city on dark, wet roads, singing to Nina, guzzling coffee, shifting gears smoothly in my new clunky heels. I’d felt so glamorous.

But today I was so tired—so tired and so worried about matters that must sort themselves out offline before I ever can write about them here. So I stayed in bed with my beautiful permakitten even after the sun made its sadsack arrival—really, the light never got anything but grey today—and it wasn’t until Grace got truly cross that I shuffled into the kitchen to make breakfast and coffee and eventually some headway on the scary stack looming on my desk. Later I drank more coffee and slathered on lipstick and ran around the city completing all the simple tasks that confer this Capricorn a disproportionate amount of pleasure. Really, it’s unseemly how much I thrill at checking off items on to-do lists. Hand-letter and snail-mail thank-you letters: check. Return library books: check. Fetch tailoring and dry-cleaning: check. Invoice clients and deposit money: check. Buy new plum lipstick: check. Feed me, Seymour! But even as I roved through the city—and even more as I sobbed and scribbled through a truly excellent critic’s screening in Midtown—I felt that pull, that pull whose name I forget every year. Cold toes, cold shoulders, that fundamental un-hugged feeling—it’s an unnamed longing for comfort until you realize what you’re craving are socks and sweater and, o my, someone else in the bed. (All summer long I luxuriate alone on my crisp sheets, resenting the hell out of anyone who has the misfortune of sharing them, counting the minutes until they’re all mine again.)cozy

So I shuffled back home and dug around in my closet and, while I did not find a suitable bedfriend, did find fleece slippers. I put them on with my purple-gold caftan and an eggplant apron and a very soft sweater with many holes and many pockets, and then I closed all the windows in my apartment for the first time in six months and began to simmer a stew in my cauldron like the good witch I’ll always be. I’m sad—the summer didn’t bear all the fruit I’d hoped—but relieved, too. Fall brings no such pressure. Just more layers, more quiet, more softness. More fall.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy