The days are getting cooler, the light coming on much later in the day. When I come into the cafe at 6 am to warm soups and bake breads, the light is dim and shadows are thick. I almost have to squint at the numbers on the scale. I notice about two hours in how bars of sunlight strike a measuring cup, a mug. Surprise touches of golden highlights I had grown so accustom to beginning my morning with when I’d first returned to the cafe in October.
The darkness is coming back. We have crossed over.
The first of fallen leaves from a nearby Japanese maple tree sing to me:
“Change is coming…”
The grey softness of reality is doing what it always does for me and pulling me inward. I feel the shift happening. I feel the edges of my leaves curling in, the tips of my forest turning gold, orange, red, brown. The sap of my creativity is returning from summer harvest extremities to my winter core.
Soon, you will not see me. But you will know my existence by words in other worlds. And I will touch ghosts instead of bodies.
And yet, the change is tinged with a sorrow. The summer, so quickly gone. My heart, left in longing.
It was not the season I wanted it to be. A long hot struggle, but with so few moments caught in a wild free-fall rush. So many things to light aglow, but so few fires burnt. I brought boxes of kindling, and I ended up sitting on empty shores, burning it all alone.
A lot I did not want. I thought, summer rush, you might be gentle and kind this time. I thought, mistakenly, the northern cool would change my heart and mind.
In this come down, I long to return to the islands that hold my heart. The warm pacific ocean that buoys me up. The salt air that fills my lungs with a tang I need to survive.
This chilly town is a place to do work, tucked as it is in between lazy but complicated mountains and a placid but icy sea more like a lake than the tossing bays I’ve known. The open shifting sky, the rippling ever-changing surface of saline water, the evergreen and fern — all are old sentinels of the world I want to love. But they do not love back. Reticent (rightfully so), they keep their back to me. Sidelong glances is all I ever get.
I leave you for the winter because you are too cold. You ice over and my fire will sputter in your grip. But, when the ground thaws and your breeze is soft – I will return again. So we can steal sidelong glances at one another. And possibly, in another year or two, you will decide some piece of me is trustworthy.
If not, I will still return to you in the quietude of your summer.
Because, in this way, I love you: you give me what I need and no more.
I can respect that, long term.
I hope the feeling can, one of these 19 hour long days, be mutual. And you might say “I love you” in return. But until that day, little wintry city, don’t fear. I mean you no further harm. I only skim the surface of your hands and arms. I have no weight, no gravity, no possible access to sink into your heart.
As we say in a language so fitting to your protect nature: mada mada.
I will wait.
Come summer 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020. Or whenever.