It’s fall, and the leaves here do not so much change color, as they do up North, as much as they just fade out, slowly and unevenly, so everything just seems… softer. You will see a tree that has been solid green for months become mottled with various shades of green, leaning into yellow and in some cases, brown as the last of the chlorophyll has gone, and the remnant of the leaf is still hanging on to the branch before abandoning ship entirely.
It’s not the rich palette of color you get for a week in the Blue Ridge mountains but rather a muted display that lasts for months until finally, sometime in December, there will be a thunderstorm that will denude the trees entirely. Then you can no longer pretend winter is not coming.
The neighbors are putting out pumpkins, raking leaves, and erecting Halloween decorations. More people are out walking now that the weather has turned – I was intimately probed by three dogs this morning whose owners are out of the habit of walking and controlling them. In some states, a Doodle named Nike and I may be married at this point.
Just like my neighborhood, I, too am in a place of transition. My day job has changed somewhat (more about that next week), which puts additional responsibilities on me. For the first time in 25 years, I will have health insurance someone else pays for, but I’m still working from home, so things are sorta the same? And I turned 50 this year, and am reassessing everything. Sigh. And later this week, I’m driving my mom to Maryland (14 hours away) for the ceremony that will honor my Dad and 150-ish other folks who died in the line of duty in the last two years. We will return from that trip a week before the 2 year anniversary of his death.
So, lots of change and transition. But there is beauty there, too, even if it doesn’t look like you expect it to.
Just like the leaves.
Five Beautiful Things
I know this is all over social media, but Lizzo masterfully playing the flute that belonged to James Madison is everything.
Over the last year, I’ve intentionally sought to understand the corner of the world I live in, and nothing has worked to make me feel more connected to this space than learning the names of the plants and animals that live here. To that end, the Audobon bird migration tracker is supremely helpful. It allows you to drill down and learn exactly what birds visit your neck of the woods, where they are from, and where they are going.
In keeping with the faded fall vibe I was talking about in the intro, Rebecca Clark’s art hits my happy spots.
This short, well-produced video posits that nostalgia is less an escape than a resource. As a witer who draws heavily on nostalgia, I feel this intensely.
The Instagram account Welcome calls itself a “digital museum.” It is full of weird, meme-ish, offbeat, indescribable things I don’t see elsewhere. It sucks me in every time.
I loved this review of the book The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity. It sounds just like my jam, and hits lots of my pleasure centers: “Yes, we’ve had bands, tribes, cities, and states; agriculture, inequality, and bureaucracy, but what each of these were, how they developed, and how we got from one to the next—all this and more, the authors comprehensively rewrite. More important, they demolish the idea that human beings are passive objects of material forces, moving helplessly along a technological conveyor belt that takes us from the Serengeti to the DMV. We’ve had choices, they show, and we’ve made them.”
It instantly went on my book shopping list.