Friday, September 22, 2006
copper beech ii
Summer is dissolving into Autumn and everything has changed.
The copper beech drops its spiny cupules, flowered out and empty of nuts, on the concrete path leading to my office. Black squirrels throw themselves at the tiny triangular beechnuts, greedy. The professor's gray cat paroles the area, stopping to sniff the empty cupules with calculated nonchalance. She mews when she sees me.
Things do change. I'd begun to wonder if they ever would. I've become so familiar with myself: my inner dialogues well-worn paths, my sense of direction steady, my garrulous self-reflection. All things seemed graspable, as if I'd found the map legend to human experience. If 'new' was out there, it was just a variation on a theme I'd already charted, or at least read about.
I didn't expect things to change, not really. I expected, I think, that change would come in some ordinary fashion, that my response would be an inner of course, that life would move along naturally: all part of a story I'd heard before and now claim as mine. But this. Life descends unexpected, a doorway opens brightly, so far from my trajectory, and I turn. This doorway isn't mine, I think, but I walk through it blinking. Here I am.
The path under the copper beech is familiar, but the feet that crunch the four-fingered and furry cupules are new. My feet: uncertain suddenly, quiet, concentrated. I don't have the story yet, I don't have the mouse by its tail, I don't have anything like a map legend.
And I think I am, unexpectedly, ok with that.