Monday, November 5, 2012

Darkness falls

Time is a construct, and we took our summer selves and put them up on shelves, runner beans and jam and orange-tinted skies. Now we dust off our winter selves, unfurl our wooly socks. Now we drive home in the dark.

The air shivers, or maybe that’s my teeth. We walk outside to inky velvet. Each night they find it anew: there’s the moon! Each night they star light star bright first star they see tonight. And then they realize their teeth are echoing mine, and in the car they climb.

photo by Brian Gaid

Each night it’s the same: it’s too dark! Nighttime driving is different, the contrast of headlights against the unknown invisible. Whites and blacks and moving beams of reference. The starkness helps. The starkness hurts. And should you look in the rearview mirror you'll see the same but smaller.

You would, but not I. I see faces, two or three depending on the day’s schedule, handily illuminated. They (the small people of those faces) click on the door lights as they climb in. They don’t like to sit through our drive in the dark. In a world of invisible commuting, we’re a laser beam of light traveling across the surface of the roads.

You’re doing your month-of-gratitude thing, so many of you, I see it everywhere. You’re grateful for health and family and coffee and democracy. All legit.

Darkness falls, and every year I’m reminded just how grateful I am for my trusty old station wagon, the one whose door lights always turn off when the key is removed from the ignition.

These are the things that matter.

(And also the coffee.)

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