September 16, 2007
I felt the chill of the meadow underfoot
But the sun overhead; . . .
Then I arose and silently wandered home
And I for one
Said that fall might come and whirl of leaves,
For summer was done.
— Robert Frost, 1874-1963
In a scene from the first season of the HBO television drama The Wire, detective Kima Greggs arrives home from a long day spent largely lying prone on a rooftop taking surveillance photos of drug buys on the street below. She throws her keys into a basket, takes off her jacket, and sits down at a folding table set up in her living room. She switches on a high intensity desk lamp, opens a book and a folder, and begins reading and making notes for a class she is taking. No more than about fifteen seconds has passed since she walked in the door.
It was one of those scenes where I completely lost the thread of the drama and instead focused on this seemingly minor action. Wow, I thought. I wish I had that kind of focus.
I typically need long transitions between activities or between projects. Were I Kima Greggs, dirty and fatigued from crawling around on a rooftop as well as tense from trying to avoid being shot at, I’d need a shower and a nap and probably a Diet Dr. Brown Cream Soda (or something stronger) before I tackled a text book.
I’ve been back from Bread Loaf three weeks, and I’ve taken my typical long transition getting back to work. I emptied my suitcase, although it hasn’t been put away yet — after all, I am packing again in eight weeks! I distributed the gifts I brought back for some of my favorite people, mostly books — what else is there to buy at a writers’ conference? — but also socks hand knit from Vermont yarn for Lynn and her roommates and a friend’s new grandchild. I inventoried the books I bought for myself as well as the Vermont yarns I acquired for my own projects.
I even did some actual writing work, the earliest after coming down from the mountain that I’ve ever done that. I reviewed the notes my tutors and my classmates gave me and outlined a plan for beginning my revisions. I sent a very short piece I wrote while I was there for consideration at the first meeting of my writers’ group in Lancaster this week. And I read some.
But mostly I transitioned, having lunch with friends and going to several of Lynn’s field hockey games in this, her very last season as one of the chicks with sticks at Millersville University. Except for a night game that called for a light jacket, I’ve been wearing hot weather clothes and slathering on the sunscreen for the sessions in the stands.
Toward the end of last week, though, something in the air and the light changed. On Thursday I noticed that the burning bush (euonymus) beside the garage, the one that shields our pond and deck area from street view, had produced its first red spot, seen above. Before long it will be a blaze of scarlet. This morning I noticed that small leaves from one of the high trees along our property line were indeed whirling, dropping to the still-green swale below. There were only a few now and then when the breeze would gust momentarily to a mild wind. But there they were, floating into my line of sight, reminding me.
Summer is over.
Back to work.