The frost came this weekend, which got me thinking about how things change, sometimes pretty darn quickly. Change has been on my mind lately: my father’s illness and the big changes it has brought to his life; how quickly my nation is marching (once again) to a war in Iraq; our inability to deal with a changing climate with any kind of effectiveness.
So, here’s a prose-poem (of sorts) that ponders how change can happen very quickly sometimes; at the same time it tries to recapture some of my writer-self that took a trip somewhere unknown for awhile. I hope it had a good time out there.
Have you ever noticed how days can go by and things change so slowly as to be imperceptible? Take summer, for instance. In Iowa, the sun glares at rows of corn for what seems like eons; the locusts lay down a wall of sound from behind the oak leaves. Then suddenly, like last night, the sky clears and the heat that had gathered in the rock wall, and under the leaves of the plums — so tenacious all summer — vanishes silently as an introvert at an office party. By morning, you wake to find Fall has already unpacked its valise, and the garden, filled with squash and cucumbers, wilts, tilting the color wheel from green to brown.
The ancients thought the world was flat, beyond which lay its rim. One minute you’re sailing blithely along, the next you’re over the precipice and in the jaws of a dragon. We modern people are wiser, of course, and know that there is no boundary, no limit, no moment where with a single step we leave one world behind and enter another. From deep within the middle the tomatoes are so ripe and red, the edge so very far away.
— Steve Peterson, 2014