In Indiana, autumn is short, and sweeter because of its brevity. Already by mid-October, the days are dramatically shortened, and dusk creeps in by seven. It is close to that time now, and the sky is an even gray, mottled with clouds, though it is not yet darkening. The brittle leaves on the trees stir and clatter in the breeze, which feels chill though I sit in long sleeves and pants. It is a restful evening, though, with nothing in front of me for the next twenty-four hours but roaming the woods, writing, reading, thinking.
Today I feel a bit like the mixed mood of autumn–on one level, I feel alive and invigorated, receptive to beauty, attentive to detail, celebrating as the trees are in their moment of unusual splendor, and at another level I feel wistful and subdued, not melancholy exactly, but mellow and languorous. Languorous. A good word for what I want this weekend to be.
Tonight I will write or read until the sky provides too little light. Then sleep will be a welcome thing, a more concentrated languor. Tomorrow I will, as Thoreau said, saunter in the woods, not making time, which is my usual mode, but ambling, stretching out the walk into its longest extension, stopping to watch yellow leaves sift between trees, to attend to the crackle of leaves underfoot, to look up past this shallow canopy into depthless blue, where God is. I’ll stop to spread out my blanket, lying on it to catch a different angle than my vertical self usually doesn’t pause for, and I will preserve it like pressed flowers in my notebook to savor later–“the spontaneous overflow of powerful emotion, recollected in tranquility.” The poetry of languor, saving these days for days that have none, when I need reminded that all this, all I need, is still out there available, waiting until I can experience it again.