My car’s dashboard thermometer read 99 degrees yesterday (fahrenheit), the sun blazed in a blue sky, and yet I know it’s fall. The light has changed. Local farm stands are beginning to display acorn squash and butternut. Outside my window, an otherwise green sumach reaches one red branch toward the road, as if someone driving by hurled a can of red paint out of the car.
Once again, I am living along the Hudson River. Though I can’t see it from my home, I feel its effects in the way sound carries, in the occasional trace of salt in the air as the tide shifts, and in the miracle of cool breezes in the night. The air conditioner I set on the floor to put in the window when the indoor temps turned unbearably hot is still on the floor, by the door, waiting.
Without planning to, I’ve lived 2/3 of my life near this river. Or there has been a plan, but I don’t think I designed it. Because if I had, wouldn’t I know – or presume I know – what’s coming next?
What’s not likely to be coming next seems easier to predict: Paul McCartney’s not going to call. There will probably not be a pony under the Christmas tree. I am unlikely to move to France, New Zealand, or Iceland. And I will never be Scrooge McDuck-wealthy.
Ah. Poor me!
But… Paul? I started waiting for him in 1962. Who could ever live up to that? I wanted the pony even longer; yet, should one come clippy-clopping into my life today, how would I console Mrs. Peel for afflicting her with a rival? And, if you have a lot of money, and you throw it up into the air so that it hits you in the head as it falls, as did McDuck, doesn’t it hurt?
I have family. I have friends. I have a church that both embraces and challenges me, and where it’s OK to sing loudly and make mistakes. Every time I relocate, I think, “This is it. This is home.” And then something changes, and I move again. Which may happen. But for now, I hope my life will continue long and strong and right here, like the river I love.
I’m working on a Kindle these days, and haven’t yet mastered it well enough to embed a photo or video. To learn something about the title I chose, go here: http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2014/feb/14/riverrun-joyce-finnegans-wake-olwen-fouere-national-theatre . (A nod to you, J.)