Cold air’s started to creep in in the mornings, and people seem to respond accordingly by folding themselves back into the dresser with the summer sheets. The goldenrod’s begun to crop up in thick swathes, pushing up the thoughts of what it means to leave Buffalo and regard home in past tense. And the Sassafras, wringing itself out red, is remembering the blood of the dead.
This must mean cool weather’s coming soon.
The evening’s sunsets seem to linger for longer, as if something’s on its mind, but won’t say it. We all know though. We see it in the sight of the goldenrod, the sassafras. Both flushed out by the autumnal honey-hour, we think of the dear people now missing from our lives.
Sacred (if I may) those early fall plants are, the way they experience, accumulate, and carry the ghosts of a warmer season. No wonder they are medicine for the winter.
Speaking of ghosts, I’m back in Knoxville, now.
I’ve come and left so many times that it doesn’t feel like I live here anymore. As a ghost in town, people seem like mirages, distance and inaccessible. It won’t feel this way always, but I wonder if feeling a ghost is because something about living here is dead to me, or if I’m trying to bring back something that can’t be.
That’s the thing about grief, I suppose, it shapes us. We all want to be restored back before when, but life doesn’t work like that. Grief’ll make a ghost of us all. Having death come late in my life, I hadn’t known how grief shapes me. Now, I understand why my parents seem static, why some friends have stopped talking, and why risks become less enticing: though I haven’t found the exact words as to why.
I’m twenty-seven and still alive.
And while that seems young, a sense of mortality and limitedness has been, much like the cold mornings, creeping in. This year, I thought, would be my last. I’ll blame my spirit of superstition and the rumors of the twenty-seven club. I’ve gone as far as avoiding white lighters and small airplanes, and I haven’t made many risks.
This year will be the last in some way. Twenty-seven begins the age of transition, out of the wondering and wandering of my early twenties and on to something taller. Plus, now aware of how deep grief, I cannot not be aware of it. This I accept, and I accept it to shape me.
As for the superstition of being twenty-seven, who knows? Being aware of superstition is not to fear a fate, but to reckon with it, to render it powerless.
Cool weather’s coming soon: the geese will return, the unharvested apples will melt on the trees, the goldenrod will stand right where it did last year. Yet, more to the point, cool weather’ll pass too. I cannot dread the unforeseen or dwell much on the long-since-seen. All of life will come back, it will leave too, and we will all have something to share next year. That I look forward to.