This morning I looked
in the mirror and was as spooked as a ghost at Halloween. I
could see clear through the wispy hair that was trying to cover
my ears. Then I noticed that my lower lip, once a plump peach
ripe for plucking, has started to curl in and shrink too.
I give it five years and I’ll have pursed and scowling lips and
resemble the mean old woman I already am.
My autumnal descent is in progress, no doubt, and SAD (seasonal
affective disorder) is setting in. I know I must get out to
Salinas for some sun and a potent injection of nature’s
Human nature inspires me, to be sure, but flora and fauna win
As I walk beneath towering sycamore trees they toss their leaves
at me – brown paper bags tap-dancing along the sidewalk.
My mood is lifting like the wind. One tree looks like a pirate’s
chest of doubloons have fallen at its feet. And, like a kid
scuffing up the dust, I kick the leaves skyward, sure that a
neighbor will yell at me for scattering what they will later
have to rake.
I’ll never understand why people complain about “messy” autumn
trees. Would you mind if the sky rained gold and rubies? Sure,
they eventually turn brown and mushy. But that’s the price you
pay for splendor.
Anyway, I stoop to sniff a purple sterling rose and wonder if
anyone has called the cops: “There’s a pervert loose!” And then
I behold a small urban produce patch with three fiery pumpkins
the size of Airstream trailers.
Now I’m singing, “They say that all good things must e-e-end
someday, autumn leaves must fa-a-all . . .” And I reflect on
this truism. Absolutely everything we love we will lose one day
– the foremost being our own lives. Most of us just don’t know
when, and that’s probably how we live with this distressing
As I begin to slide into morbidity I notice a spanking new
fence, six feet long and still reeking of redwood. There isn’t a
thing around it but dirt that surrounds the house which the
However, I stand in awe of one, long-stemmed, velvety, red rose
that has burst through a crack in the fence. The message is
clear: life – always vibrating, pulsing – continues beyond,
before and in between death.
Now I can let go of summer and accept autumn . . .
Stardust Inspiration: We love to be in the
presence of something that dwarfs us. There is relief in knowing
that we are small and don’t control the world. Mammoth things in
nature: sycamore trees, waterfalls, forests, caves, oceans,
fires, deserts, craters, etc., create reverence.
I have fallen back
into the pure sugary sand on Asilomar Beach in Pacific Grove.
Sand flies tickle my lip and, through a narrow slit in my closed
eyelids, the sun makes rainbows.
I am trying not to think. The song, “Breathe, just breathe”
regales my brain.
I open my eyes to a powder blue sky with cotton ball clouds of
October. Just offshore, water walkers (surfers) bob like black
cormorants on the blinding, sun-sheened sea.
I pray to an unseen spirit, “Please guide me to do the next
right thing. Thank you for how far I have come.”
Overcome with relief, gratitude, joy and even a little bit of
sadness, I have just spent an hour with Simeon, a dead-ringer
for Cheech, who delivered my 3-ton baby StarWords. We bonded as
he wiped the sweat from his graying temples while maneuvering
the books on a hydraulic pallet jack. Now I know what one is.
He is the first person I have given an autographed copy of
StarWords, inscribed, “Thanks for helping me deliver my baby.”
He even made it fun. By the time we were done traversing the
miles-long angular hallways of the behemoth storage facility, we
were buddies. I had trotted behind while he hopped onto the jack
and went “Whee!” back to the elevator after each load. From
behind, he looked like he was skiing.
So, after our final load, when my horsies were all in the stall
and I’d rolled down their metal door, I decided to hop on
myself. I insisted on steering and almost crashed us going
around a corner. As we laughed our way onto the elevator to
return to the ground floor, another customer wheeled out what
looked like a pine coffin.
“Wow!” I said. “I wonder if there’s a body inside?” The owner
said there was virtually no way of knowing what people bring
into the spaces. I believed her, as I observed another person
retrieve from her Mercedes, mysterious, black, plastic bags of
who knows what?
Regarding secrets, it
reminded me of the Suzanne Somers movie called, “Keeping
Secrets.” In fact, many years ago I commended her on the movie
at a star-studded fund-raiser and also told her I cherished the
book of poems she once wrote.
She was flattered that someone remembered she is a poet and, so,
thanked me by sending me another copy. And that’s no secret . .