Sorry, We're Closed

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


It’s that time of year…when the crickets and cicadas sing in the trees in the afternoon and, especially, the night. The time when an ice cream cone seems like not just a luxury, but a principled stand for summer against the gray weather sure to buffet us in the not-so-distant future.

The very end of summer, when each 90-degree day is a bonus from the heavens and each strong wind a foreshadowing of the long winter to come.

And that ubiquitous noise, the whirrs, clicks, and hums of the winged ones, carries such weight for me. It’s such a lovely song, and yet one that for me, and others, has poignancy far beyond its literal meaning.

Nothing in the voice of the cicada
Intimates how soon
It will die.

The cicada is just living when it sings its song. We can’t sing that song—we have to sing our own, and we know just how short our time is to do it. Sometimes I wish I could sing like a cicada.

While I enjoy fall, and have strong sentimental attachments to the season, which involve such various topics as my wife Cecilia, green apples, Syd Barrett, and acoustic guitars, it’s also a sad time for me, because spring and summer are by far my favorite times of year, especially in Chicago. But the very end of the warm-weather months have their own gifts to offer.

Spider Time

One of those gifts is the influx of spiders of all sorts. You’ll see ‘em everywhere this time of year, in every eave, every store window, every doorway. Tons of spiders of all sorts, laying traps to capture unsuspecting small insects, flies, lacewings, etc. and make them into dinner. So it goes.

While waiting for a bus today, I spent 20 minutes watching the tableau of a spider-covered store window. When they rest at this time of year, spiders wrap themselves in a cocoon of thready, silky spider stuff. (Some crawlies are nocturnal, some are diurnal.) Today, I saw two diurnal spiders engage in a territorial battle that ended with the smaller spider having to find a new hangout.

This smaller spider, which appeared to have limited vision of some sort, kept bumping into sleeping, wrapped larger spiders while trying to find its way. It made me think of the darkness I walk in sometimes, having come up against something bigger or more frightening than I. It’s been a while since I had to make any kind of stand against a formidable foe, but every day we make decisions that forge our future and I have to remind myself to stay strong. In the past, I wasn’t always able to do that.

Season of the Witch

A few years ago, when I worked for several months at a publishing company, I got along well with everyone—except one colleague who seemingly had it in for me from day one. She was never supportive, went behind my back, and purposely denigrated my skills to other colleagues. Other folks either disliked her or even feared her, but her disregard for me felt especially personal, even if it was not.

And it hurt at the time. I wondered what I’d done to earn this person’s enmity, her sneering disregard, her insincere smiles. Certainly she must have had issues in her life, but why pick on someone else?

Why am I thinking about this now? A conversation with a friend, who once also worked with this person at the same company, brought out some incidents that I hadn’t known about before. And it’s got me uptight—again—several years after I should have let it go. Apparently, some of can say that we’ve come to terms with the past, and think that we’re done with it, even when we aren’t.

But fall is the ideal time to let things fall to the ground. This former colleague of mine should have no hold on me. Her transgressions are dying leaves, falling to the earth to become mulch. Would that my past transgressions on others be equally absorbed, allowed somehow to nourish the earth.


Blogger ann-marie said...

it's hard for me to say farewell to chicago summers, too, hot as they can be. i enjoy fall, but not the winter that follows. but right now i wouldn't mind saying farewell to the numerous centipedes that seem to enjoy our living room as much as we do. *shudder*

ah, the publishing co. so many interesting people. i'm sorry you had such a negative experience with that person, whoever s/he was. no one should ever use their own pain to hurt others.

9:32 PM, September 06, 2007


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