When books make you cry.

It can take seconds, but books have an emotional impact well beyond their weight. I get up, walk from the living room, see a hardback version of a favorite book— I’ve left it out from sorting my shelf. 

It’s filled with poems about a war (doesn’t matter which one, the truths are all the same, merely different uniforms). I flip it open, read. I sit down. I read. I think of the losses, and what the author was feeling. I’m not sure I can know, but I can try. I think of family funerals, and rain. I think of the chill of a grave and the life left over, forced to live in a place not of my own choosing where there’s enough pain that I am compelled to write the poem I hold in my hands. The book creaks as I close it, and I notice that there’s glue on the back from an old sticker.

The book has traveled, just like me. The poem is one year older than me. The pain is raw as the day it was written. I don’t know the author. Should I go type my own words now, freshly shorn by the ragged edge of a single page– the scent of someone else’s blood funneled into my own narrative? It feels like theft, kind of, but then writers are emotional vampires, building stories from borrowed hurt and joy.

I wonder if the author is still alive, and then decide I don’t want to know. They are alive to me, as certainly as if they were standing next to me, reading their poem and watching from the corner of their eye, just to make sure I’m listening.

“What are we watching?” I ask my son, averting my eyes. He’s nine, and I’m not sure I can explain how second hand pain works. Not at this age, and not yet. Maybe someday he will read something I’ve written and ask how someone like me could write something so bleak, and then we can discuss what it means to be an adult, but not right now. I look at the television and think of muddy fields and missing sons, and who wrote it down so that I could be thankful for the room around me, free of rain and fear.

The Knock-Down Rain

For lack of a better term, that’s what I’m calling our rain. Because it knocked down every leaf-like structure in the universe.

Up until two days ago, we were in that glorious stretch of weather that makes everything seem possible!

The sun was shining. The breeze was light. The sky, that perfect October blue that faded into the brilliance of stars I’d forgotten were so present. In a fit of achievement, we moved furniture purchased six months ago. 

After removing somewhere between ten and three hundred thousand spiders, the cabinet was ready for positioning, and in that moment, all was right with the world.

Then, the merest hint of rain arrived, and the lawn– now returned to a green splendor not seen since June– became covered with leaves who collectively gave up (quitters!) to land on the ground where they will absorb water until their density is somewhere north of concrete.



You know why people get depressed as the days get shorter? Because they have to rake leaves.
No one in their right mind wants to rake wet, heavy leaves. But here we are, and unless I buy a flamethrower, this is my fate.

In book news, check my amazon page for some .99 sales this week. I just mailed out a stack of goodies to readers, and will do so next month as well. Watch for the next giveaway!

Until the raking is done, I remain,

Terry, Leaf Boy.


September: The Glory Season

September. The Last Hurrah.

Also my birth month, and the month we lost my mother nearly twenty years ago. There’s a lesson here, I think.


I’ve been in an area afflicted by seasons for more than twenty years of my life, and in some way, September has become my favorite month. Crops and flowers start to look a little shopworn, and there are quiet places where creeks used to be during the height of the rains.


But then, we get a bit of rain and there’s a Renaissance in the fields. Things perk up. Flowers bloom. Beans get sassy, go a little higher. Things are moving again.


That doesn’t include the flowers. Here’s the thing about weeds and flowers: in September, they’re both the same thing. It just depends on where they are and if you want them. Regardless of our applause, they’ll bloom.





That purple stuff? It’s purple glory. It shows up in August, bursts onto the scene, and tells everyone that fall is nearby, so you’d better soak up what heat you need to get you through the inevitability of the oncoming gray. 

I turn forty-seven in five days. I can identify with the flowers and the weeds. I was slow to arrive, not really the best neighbor for a long time, and then, once I bloomed and got a little rain, I was okay. Now that I’m in my glory, it’s late in the season, and I’ve got to decide if I bloom until the bitter end, or do I fade out?

I think I’ll hang out and be purple, if that’s cool. At my age, the fall looks pretty good, and winter, too.


Cheers,
Terry