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September 30, 2008 / allyo

Reclaiming Autumn


These pictures were taken the Saturday before last early-ish in the morning. I was struggling to down enough coffee to deal with Jamie, who had woken up chock full o energy, and was bouncing around the kitchen like a loon, singing, banging, and just being a kid. Finally – “why don’t you play outside??” It was a little chilly and the overgrown grass was still damp with dew, so I slapped some boots and a sweatshirt on him and ignored the “crazy hair.” He demanded that I take picture after picture of him playing with his bubble gun, and I did, wishing I had enough know how (or at least a fancy camera) to truly capture the light and the bubbles.

In the middle of the silliness I realized we hadn’t really played outside in ages. Why? Oh right – August. August, my nemisis. My asthma rules my life in August in a way that is unparalled among the remaining 11 months. It is hot, it is muggy, the air in my lungs becomes heavy, and they feel like they are sheathed in plastic wrap. I shun the outdoors in August. I don’t really make excuses anymore. Asthma. It’s enough, and most people understand.

But this August was especially stifling, with C’s illness and death. The one good thing about August is that my office is still closed on Friday afternoons, and whatever the weather the rest of the summer, it is always hot enough in August to go swimming. But this year we didn’t make it even once. Not once, after talking about it all winter, how when it was summer we would go to the swimming pool and Jamie would be tall enough and brave enough to spend time in the big pool. We had weird weather in July, I was busy in June, conferences and holidays all fell funny, and finally in August Friday afternoons were spent at the hospital, or driving around trying to clear my head, or hiding at home, pulling myself together in time to pick Jamie up. Even the week we were off together failed us – we had some rare clammy days, and that Friday, while hot and heavy, was spent at COSI with a high school friend and her daughter. They were here from Atlanta for a brief visit and by then I figured it was best to pretend that the swimming pool didn’t exist rather than go just one time over the entire summer.

The knowledge that autumn, once my time, my birth time, and then my anniversary time and then, gloriously, the time in which I finally became a mother, that this favorite time of year had become a season of death, only to be extended into summer with C’s passing, has made me dread the coming of October, formerly my most loved month of the year. Since my grandma died two years ago autumn has been unbearable. Too much, too heavy. Much like August, my lungs can’t quite get enough air.

Last Friday was MD and mine’s 9th wedding anniversary. We didn’t celebrate. He came home late, feeling rough from his last day at another hellish job, and I felt hurt, alone, abandoned, and terrified that he’d drift into another job with an unbearable schedule and that I’d be alone yet again. Alone alone alone. I have spent a lot of our 15 years together alone. No matter what the intentions, we always seem to end up there. So we had a difficult conversation that didn’t really end well, but later that night after MD returned from a walk he was hard pressed to complete with all his physical ailments, I watched my dear, wonderful husband struggle to put me at ease, and my heart broke, it was so full. Fifteen years. We were so young when we started dating. We had all the answers and we were never going to become our parents. And yet there he was in front of me, signs of age on his face, in the worry lines and dark circles. In the dear fuzzy hair on his head that he grows out instead of shaving, just for me. In the worry in his voice and its weight pushing at his shoulders. And once again I told myself to just let it go.

Let it go.

No one is keeping this season from me. No one is keeping me from reveling in every wonderful moment of October – my month. My month that is starting in less than an hour. No one but myself. So this autumn, work and the economy and the house and the chores and the dishes be damned, this autumn is mine.


Leave a Comment
  1. LittleWit / Oct 1 2008 7:06 am

    You deserve to autumn for you. I hope things start to look up. đŸ™‚

  2. MystikMomma / Oct 1 2008 9:43 am

    BRAVA! This post spoke to me on many levels. Maybe because I remember your dating season with MD, maybe because I love to see the hair on my own hubbie’s head, or maybe because I grasp with this idea of years going by and we are aging, oopps I mean maturing! See I hate even using the word aging. Maybe it is because I have my own death season, February/March. Funny, I just realized now, that I don’t dread that season anymore. But I did and it hung around each year wondering who would die next! Too many deaths, year after year and the entire family would hold their breath. But we seemed to get past it and now start to enjoy the Lenten season as we prepare for the glorious Easter Promise of New Life.

    Yes your post spoke to me and I do wish you only the best. I also offer my pool as a way to jump and play, splash and laugh. I am here my dear friend for you. You sent me a birthday card once that depicted old witches stirring the brew… we will be old witches together still laughing at the comment of one wild young girl…”We strewn our clothes along the night grass and frolicked naked in the fortezza”! I will never forget that moment and it still cracks me up.

    The ups and downs of life, how glorious in retrospect that this is your life. What a wonderful life you are living on your terms, with your love, passion, understanding, caring and creativity. You inspire and I applaud you taking October back. This is your month, it has been so for me, as I celebrate all the Crones in my life, you lovely devilish Scorpio’s!

  3. Jody / Nov 6 2008 8:50 am

    I hope October treated you well.

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