Monday, November 15, 2010

Chance Of.

When you get those spitshined blazing leafshot autumn days ten, twelve days in a row, you forget how nice a low gray morning is, you forget how those maples down the street will fire just as brightly against a gunmetal sky, you forget the plain pleasure of overcastness. Overcastedness. Overcast. One of the three, surely, right? Hard to say. Hard to say whether it'll rain or not, too, and though the radar says no, not now, that sky looks like if we got some half-shower, enough to wet the streets and sidewalks, probably nobody should step up to be surprised.

The dog and the Toad line up for the same team: gray morning means sleeping in. For the first time since the time change, the Toad held on until eight. I know real grownups have real schedules. I do. But eight o'clock was nice this morning for us rank amateurs.

The squirrel still lives in the writing shed eaves, his residence a hedge against the possibility that he's a her and that the residence is non-singular. Once we get past the time a fall clutch would have clutched and gone, I'll do the blunt work of eviction. For now, huddle up, little man. I apologize in advance. I'm picking the lesser of two evils. One cannot have a hollering baby beast of his own, it turns out, and evict the possibility of infant squirrels. If they were in here, if they were threatening the actual family, I guess that'd be one thing. If all they're doing is threatening the novel, well, then, that columns itself into a different category.

A visiting gig at the Virginia sibling's puppet show means a short week at my own—and on a morning like this one, that feels hopeful, feels alright. Keep it tuned here, friends and fans of weather. We may see rain tomorrow. From this chair, right now, that feels like something somebody'd want to call in.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Early November.

The weather's flipped back warm again, or mainly warm: you'll want a jacket out there waiting for the school bus, friends and fans of domesticity, of procreation, of bubbling the planet with tiny lunchboxed velour-hoodied pre-Kers, but by noon it should be warm enough to throw the windows wide open and wait for that selfsame bus to trundle them back safely home for a snack of milk and four fig newtons. See how easily we can flash a few years into the future? The Toad hollers upstairs as he heads down for a nap. Squirrels have indeed made a home in the eaves of the writing shed. We're seeing overnight lows in the upper thirties and low forties, highs in the upper sixties to right around seventy. The big maple in the back yard burns yellow. The weather's meant to hold like this through Sunday. It may not be November any longer, but it's—well, it's pretty. You want fancier than that? Try some other increasingly irregular forecast.

The road home from the puppet show the last few nights has seen smoke from leaf fires hanging low in the air, dust from plowed-under tobacco fields hanging low in the air. The time changed, which means sunset rides back west to the Gate City, stars and planets firing away in the clear above the smoke and dust. Getting to be time to look for Venus, for Orion. The moon's been filling this week back from that fingernail rip of a crescent I like so well, and walking out of my office at night I've noticed just how quickly it slides in one direction or the other. I've always known it goes full to new and back again in however many days. I just don't think I've ever quite noticed it three days in a row. Seems a small thing, but it is a thing all the same.

The fire out back should be good by now, should have pushed the chill out of the building, should have made the space ready. There are two separate books I'd rather be working on right now, both worse ideas than the good one that's at the desk but just won't quite go the way I want it to. These are pretty days. They are. They just are not easy ones, or simple. The Toad sleeps. The dog's waiting for me to give up on my own life and take her and hers around the block. I've made a second pot of coffee. The light through all these leaves seems shaped and weighted. These are the things I have to tell you. This is damn near all there is.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Back Again.

The morning after Halloween: candy wrappers and Spiderman masks in the streets. Since then: cleaner, colder. Wednesday and Thursday looked like you'd want November to look like—wet and gray, low sky, early sunsets, hat weather. If someone rang your doorbell and wanted to see November, wanted to see it right away, that would have been what to show them. And we wake up on the first Friday morning of the month to this rinsed-through near-frost, high light blue sky and the tops of the maples already turned and fallen and blowing around in the lawns. Every year I forget that after the turn, the leaves fall top to bottom. Every year they do it again.

What do you want to know? That the weather happens every day, and that the forecast sometimes does not? No good answer that doesn't have the following elements: toad, novel, puppet show, toad, novel, puppet show. Sometimes dog. Sometimes out-of-towners. Sometimes pure laziness. Sometimes exhaustion. Sometimes an admixture of all of these and more.

The Toad is 155 days old.

Cold mornings we use the fire in the living room, I use the stove outside. Squirrels may be living in the eaves of the building. The plan: wear gloves, unscrew some of the soffitry, pull on whatever I find and duck the hell out of the way. That's coming either later on today or to a Saturday near you.

First freeze of the season forecast for tomorrow night. It smells like winter out there. We've shifted. We make a little more coffee than we did in the warmer months. The time changes Sunday night—or we do. It's one of the two.