by Dave Hood
The light of dawn shines through the front window of my chilly bungalow. It stands in silence. I throw on my down jacket, leather gloves, woolen cap, hiking boots. Then open the door, step into a cold, crisp autumn.
On the lawn, a carpet of maple leaves. In the distance, a yellow birch, red maple, golden oak.
I smell charcoal smoke from a neighbors chimney. I feel as if I’m inside a walk-in refrigerator. A thin layer of ice is cemented to the windshield.
I scrape and hack off it off, then open the car door, sit on the driver’s seat. It feels like a brick of ice. I insert the key into the ignition, hear the engine sputter, start like an old wreck that is in pressing need of a tune-up and new muffler. Cold northern air blows from the heater.
Clutching the chilly steering wheel, I pull the stick shift into reverse, drift down the driveway, past eight bags of leaves waiting for yard waste pickup, to the quiet street.
“Autumn passing.” “Nothing remains the same.” “Life is forever changing.” This late autumn reminds of “old age,” I think to myself.
Driving through the neighborhood, to the city, where there’s concrete and steel, I see leaves and leaves, everywhere, there is leaves. Countless, wet, decaying leaves rest, next the curb, blow about, wither and decay. Maple leaves, oak leaves, birch leaves— fluttering from the trees, falling like confetti, covering the fading summer grass, the sidewalk, the streets. The image is surreal, like a dream, like a rendering of abstract art.
On the radio, the weatherman tells us the city is headed for a deep freeze, with “snow on the way.”