Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Walnut Leaves are Falling

Everything else is still green, although the strange, white-flowered vine twisted around the part of the neighbor's fence where his son hides at night has magicked up fat stalks of purple berries. I debate eating one, rolling it around in my palm when I step out to rummage for the paper in the morning grass. The berry bleeds a dark maroon, like Hollywood blood, but if there's anything summer has taught me, it's that you never know. I leave it for the birds.

For most of the summer, the paper person (I try to imagine him -fat, scrawny, old, young, bitter, joyous?) executed perfect parabolas: morning after morning, there lay the paper, flush with the front door; all I had to do was wedge my wrist past the screen. But either the paper person has decided to meet diminishing daylight with diminishing effort or he's hung up his cape: lately the paper has prowled the borders of our property like a restless dog. This morning I find it deep in the dew, fingersbreadths over the line.

Not that I begrudge the twenty-five extra steps. I'm wearing shoes that are too big for me, some coat I pulled off the rack. The morning air, always an inch colder than what the day will draw itself up to, buffets my calves. This early, there's less color, less noise, more walnut leaves.

Why do they go first? I'm sure there's an answer online, but I can't seem to conjure the time to stroke the right keys. The walnut leaves turn a bilious yellow. They plunge headlong, heedless, greedy for down. When the wind gusts, they lift off, a flight of golden birds. It is almost too much. It is too much: lovely swollen to obscene.

I go back inside. I pick the world's problems up by the scruff of their plastic sleeve.

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