Friday, September 30, 2011

autumn whispers and renewal is in the air

In the not-yet-sun-up morning light, the silhouette of the Japanese maple across the street rustles and rattles here and there. There is no wind but I know from the shaking spots that the squirrels are at work, reaching out on thin, thin limbs, sometimes hanging upside down to reach whatever lingering sweet shoots there are. The days are growing cooler and it's time to fill up and store and prepare for a winter that will dawn in the near future.

Echoing the squirrels' announcement of autumn, a newspaper ad trumpets MACOUNS and other apples for sale. Macouns, my sister once said, make the best apple pies. MacIntosh and other varieties are too mushy and often flavorless, but Macouns are as brisk and firm and delicate as a squirrel's tread.

Fall is coming and yet it is spring.

Peace pagoda, Leverett, Mass.
Not far from here, a Buddhist temple that was burned down by a youthful and later-repentant arsonist 20 years ago will reopen this Sunday. The temple stands near a peace pagoda erected on top of a mountain -- a glistening statement in the middle of a comparative no-where. Most structures are placed where they can be seen or admired or are easily accessible, but the pagoda and the temple are not like that. Both lie up a steep-ish dirt incline that must be walked ... in order to get ... to no where... a setting without applause. I always liked that placement and effort -- wondrous in a space that requires no wonders; daring and lacking in facile reference points.

I got an invitation to the Sunday reopening of the new growth where old growth had stood. In my mind, I would like to go and offer some incense, but Buddhism is a young man's sport and climbing that dirt incline is not in the cards for a man enjoying his autumn.

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