The hurry, the noise, the talking, the people. So many people to write about: teenager, father, grandmother, child; how they all topple and spill and swirl into each other. How time spins like a top, and only by squinting hard and willing myself to focus on just one shape–the blue hexagon, for example–can I almost, almost identify it each time it whips around. A determined trick of the eye to pull constancy out of chaos; that’s what writing is for me. And lately, the top has been spinning so hard and so fast, I’ve surrendered to the chaos. I’ve given up trying to find the blue hexagon, and instead only try to make some sense of the spinning blur.
I could write a lengthy assessment of our recent family life, our busy-busy-busyness of work and school and music and sports and church. But how would that interest you? I will not (and cannot) detail the minutiae of those singular events, but I can try to explain what happened above and below and around them. I can try to explain the blur.
I could tell you how the red leaves and nubby gravel crunched under my wheels as I drove to the outskirts of town for my daughter’s piano lesson, where her shy attempt at Clair de Lune washed over me with such wistfulness, I could almost put a hand on the back of my fifteen-year old self, sitting up straight, punching down nervous keys for a silent, listening teacher.
It is fall. Why do piano lessons go so well with fall?
Or I could describe how the polyester volleyball jersey draped over my thirteen-year old’s narrow shoulders as she pounded her new overhand serve, and how the squeak of the bleachers and smell of the waxy gym floor mercilessly pulled my junior high days—which were funny and awful and typical—up from the forgotten well in which I’d thrown them down so many years ago.
I could write about yesterday’s twilight bike ride with my boy; how he dared me to coast with my feet off the pedals, how the scent of burning leaves and glimmer of streetlights brought me back to neighborhood gangs and my mom’s spaghetti and pedaling fast to make it home for The A-Team on a warm and cloudy Tuesday night.
It is fall. Why do memories go so well with fall?
And I could try, I suppose, to write about the three-tiered October sky that met us on the highway as we drove home from that volleyball game: periwinkle-on-sapphire-on-indigo, stretched before the tawny sagebrush in a soft striped canvas, a pale circle of moon punching through it like a fine pearl earring. It was a sunset of summer’s end; a sunset slowly losing her heedless blond to that of a richer, darker hue. I could write about how that sunset, cast like a telling backdrop against our madly spinning lives, made me feel.
But how do I say what I mean?
I can only say that I peered through the windshield to take it all in, but just when I was getting close—just when I thought I had it—I had to grip the wheel and look back down the road; I had to focus on the tasks at hand. Carpool, dinner, homework, bedtime—the stuff of our days, the stuff of our lives. The stuff that keeps me blessedly distracted from really understanding that sky, from absorbing the full weight of Change.