Another was on my way to meet friends. I was early, and I drove down an unfamiliar road past an unfamiliar sign offering the word "park" like an outstretched hand, and seconds later I had turned my car around, had taken off my dress shoes and slipped on the flimsy flip-flops I had in my back seat. Never mind that it was fifty-five degrees. Never mind that my toes are always the first things to get cold. There was a path, and I followed it. There was a stream, and I listened. I did not drink the water, not through my mouth, but other parts of me did, because the malaise of the day, I found, had gone, my bare feet leading me next down a deer path, muddy and wet, slippery and tangled, turning and ducking between crab apple trees and bushes with black berries. Later I would have to walk into a restaurant filled with finely dressed people, and my feet would be dirty. I took a deep breath. The air against my insides, cool and invigorating, made me laugh.
I walked out a third time because of the light. Because of the colors. All week I had been looking out windows, and everywhere the earth was spilling out of itself. Not in the way of spring when everything is young and fresh, and not in the way of summer when there is constant, diligent growth. But in the way of autumn. In the way of finales: nothing held back. It is all so beautifully desperate, and perhaps because of this—because to such vulnerability I cannot say no—I opened, unbuttoned my jacket, and allowed this new season to seep into my cheeks and run its fingers along my bones. And it became such that, when I glanced at a flush of sumac, I saw myself, the way I felt, all on-the-edge of something that was impossible to capture. I could only wait. Hope that I might be looking at the right time. That was what this walk was. Being ready. Looking. Wandering in colors that were all gems, that all belong in crowns, that hold the light like wine. Too soon the garments will be gone, but for now the world is awash in a frenzy of hues all found in our faces when we tip them up.