Today is 60 degrees and gray but the weekend was lovely. Full of the warmth and drowsiness and o'er-brimm'd-ness of Keat's autumn, the "later flowers for the bees," the "fume of poppies," the "last oozings."
The trees are blazed and blazing. Their colors look violent, pensive, mysterious. And then there is the pattern of the falling leaves that turns some trees into torches and others into ruined faces, empty bowls.
You are taking your first tottering steps. You don't care about walking. You do it only when you're not thinking about it or when a single step or two seems like the easier route from here to there. You've started up with consonant sounds, chugging them out in the back seat of the car or sending them lilting around the darkness of your room at 6:30am. Last night you had a fit because we promised you a bath after dinner, failing to consider that "after" in not a concept you appreciate yet. You sobbed through most of dinner, pointing to the doorway, until finally I carried you through the squashed bits of spinach pie on the floor and up to the bathroom where you slapped your palm emphatically on the porcelain edge of the tub saying, "ba! ba! ba!" You've also finally figured out the hand sign for "more" only instead of bringing all your fingertips together, you use only your index fingers so the expression of the word seems more delicate and solemn.
This weekend your father and I went away for a night for the first time in 18 months. We were supposed to go to a dear friend's wedding in Chicago but then a rather wounded individual lit an air traffic control tower on fire and thousands of flights were cancelled so instead of getting fancy in Chicago we got fancy in Minneapolis instead. We stayed at a hotel downtown that had recently been remodeled. This meant that bright red chairs in the lobby were back lit by forty television screens together projecting images from nature. On each floor, the elevator doors swished open to the same fluorescent pink print of what looked like a virus under a microscope. Meanwhile, Daddy couldn't look at the hallway carpet for fear of vomiting, such was the nature of the white/navy striped pattern. Our room flaunted a wall papered with drawings of cassette tapes. That we did not find all of this cool confirms that we are old.
We pretended not to be old, though! For lunch we ate fish tacos and chicken salad on Nicollet Mall. A bee flew into Daddy's beer and he rescued it and then poured water on it to try to resuscitate it. I sipped chardonnay and grew too hot in the sun. We spent the afternoon being lazy and then went to dinner wearing our fancy wedding clothes. We tried steak tartare for the first time, scooping the pink bits onto toasted circles of baguette. Afterward we went to an underground bar with a purple door (thanks for the rec, uncle John!) and sipped cocktails infused with pine buds and charcoal and chatted with the bearded, plaid-shirted bartender whose name was also Peder but who pronounced it Peter. The next day we read the paper in bed and shopped for towels at Macy's and had lunch at the Sculpture Garden and I drank a latte infused with honey and lavender. It was good. Though I am still sad to have missed my dear friend's wedding.
Every Minnesotan was outside this weekend, I think. It was the last swelter of opulence. The oozings and the drowsiness and the hum of bees will soon give way to the cold and the starkness, the swift blanket that mutes perfumes and hardens sap. Jennifer died at this time a year ago. I am glad to be especially reminded of her now, in this season where we fill ourselves with food and warmth, with long walks and the claps of color from the trees, when we prepare to give our bodies over to a different way of living in this world.