Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hooray! It's September!

Unabashedly, I love fall the most. Summer is too much like a teenager, demanding time spent at parties, sweating and glistening in the sun, worried it will all end too soon. Autumn, the fall comes, and I can breathe. Unfortunately, not necessarily so in Los Angeles, as this is when the fire season starts. But the idea is there, the season of sweaters and boots and tromping through leaves. Shorter days that lead to more lamp-light and book-reading and lingering over long dinners with wine. It invites contemplation more than its sister of sunny summer, and September always reminds me that it's here.

The Great Black Heron

Since I stroll in the woods more often
than on this frequented path, it's usually
trees I observe; but among fellow humans
what I like best is to see an old woman
fishing alone at the end of a jetty,
hours on end, plainly content.
The Russians mushroom-hunting after a rain trail after themselves a world of red sarafans,
nightingales, samovars, stoves to sleep on
(though without doubt those are not
what they can remember). Vietnamese families fishing or simply sitting as close as they can
to the water, make me recall that lake in Hanoi
in the amber light, our first, jet-lagged evening,
peace in the war we had come to witness.
This woman engaged in her pleasure evokes
an entire culture, tenacious field-flower
growing itself among the rows of cotton
in red-earth country, under the feet
of mules and masters. I see her
a barefoot child by a muddy river
learning her skill with the pole. What battles
has she survived, what labors?
She's gathered up all the time in the world
--nothing else--and waits for scanty trophies,
complete in herself as a heron.



- by Denise Levertov

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