The leaves are coming down in steep rain—the kind of rain that turns the late autumn fields dark. I’m almost old. My neighbor across the street has suffered a stroke. He is perhaps 20 years older than me. Leaves drift through his yard and tangle in the tall, decorative grass. Autumn is its own industry, merciless, more of capitalism than anything Trotsky may have imagined. Autumn says we will die without dignity. If you want to imagine something else, you will have to stretch. As my Finnish friend, the late poet Jarkko Laine once wrote: “Withered leaves fly above the street—death’s butterflies.” And as the American poet Robert Bly once said: “So this is how my life goes before the grave…” Steep rain today. Many of my friends who are disabled are struggling—one can’t find an accessible home; another can’t find a steady job though he has a doctorate; still another can’t keep his car running so he can teach part time. The day is substantially dark.
I am Episcopalian—lefty Episcopal but still…I like the “Smells and Bells”.
Here: I put aside my customary worries.
Here I invoke the prayer for artists and musicians:
O God, whom saints and angels delight to worship in
heaven: Be ever present with your servants who seek through
art and music to perfect the praises offered by your people on
earth; and grant to them even now glimpses of your beauty,
and make them worthy at length to behold it unveiled for
evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Steep rain. Death’s butterflies. Amid them, glimpses of beauty. Let’s behold them, unveiled.
Branches tapping my windows.