Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Fall, Part Six

It's been a fall like none I have ever experienced. I don't remember feeling as happy and full of optimism and as sad and disappointed as I have this fall.

It's the day before Thanksgiving. The office is quiet, but someone needs to keep the light on. That someone is me. The kids are at home, and Nanny has arrived for the holiday. A Southwest flight from a palm-lined runway in Ft. Lauderdale disgorged her out onto Terminal A and 15 waiting wheelchairs lined up to take silver-haired relatives to baggage carousels and taxi cabs. Elise texts me often to tell me that she has a headache. I am hopeful, however, that I will get to leave soon. Leaving the office early will still mean going home in the dark, unfortunately, the wind and the cold.

It's been a long, stressful couple of weeks. Through the golden light glowing in halos around the auburn crowns of tress with falling leaves, the kids play seemingly oblivious to everything that's going on around them. I am happy for that. Maybe they see all, and I am just focusing on the wrong things. Again, a matter of perspective.

In as short a span of time as a few days, I sat on the sidelines of Sam's game in the Arlington fall tournament. It was the first game Sunday morning. The temperatures had plummeted the day before in a powerful, awe-inspiring display of the raw power of nature. The skies -- clear that morning -- had become mottled over the course of the afternoon until bloated by blotchy black clouds, releasing a bitingly cold wind that -- in the span of two minutes -- vanquished every leaf left in the trees of Virginia. The kids on the field couldn't concentrate on soccer, and every player on each of the four fields turned their heads and palms heavenward and whirled in the swirl of leaves.

Pete, Clem, Elise, and I were wrapped in a blanket on the sidelines, attempting in vain to ward off the wind. After staying a tie game for most of the morning, one of Sam's teammates scored on a breakaway and I pumped my fist into the air and whooped in excitement...his team gave high-fives.

This morning, Pete opened the door to our room and crawled into our bed. Clementine followed soon thereafter. After what happened in Chattanooga, all I have wanted to do is hold them close, but they are like unstable molecules created in a physics lab; The amount of time they exist in a state for hugging is fragile and measured in nanoseconds by sophisticated atomic timepieces. My co-worker insists on working with CNN on in the background, and I have to leave the room frequently. I can't bear to watch without fearing I'll burst into tears. I can't help seeing the footage and not imagining Peter or Sam on that bus.

I read the following this morning, a quote by Damian Kulash, the lead singer of OK Go.

"Humans are not equipped to understand our own temporariness; it will never stop being deeply beautiful, deeply confusing, and deeply sad that our lives and our world are so fleeting. We have only these few moments. Luckily, among them there are a few that really matter, and it's our job to find them."

There have been many such moments this fall. I only hope I found all of them.

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