far too much writing, far too many photos

It’s looking and feeling more like autumn with every passing day. Early darkness. Stretches of gray, rainy weather. Waves of birds passing through, stopping to scare up food. The mornings bring gangs of robins and flickers, spread out across the lawn — hunting down crickets and other critters before disappearing, continuing the flight south. Leaving a growing silence in their wake as the number of crickets diminishes with each wave of travellers, the quiet occasionally broken by the calling of Canada geese passing overhead. (Or gunfire from hunting-happy local rifle-toters.) Two days back, I noticed the swelling silence outside had become more profound than normal — even the crowd of local birds normally partying wildly at my feeder had disappeared. Stepping outside revealed why: three hawks flying in long, slow circles directly above. I stood and watched, they finally pulled out of the spiral, drifted away — also heading south.

Two weeks from today I’m also out of here, making my own migration back to Madrid. Preparations continue, blended with work in and out of the house, some routine, some seasonal. Today I tackled a task wisely avoided all summer long: pulling the stovepipes apart (including the six-foot insert that comes down from inside the chimney), dragging them outside for the annual cleaning. Easily as much fun as a bout of drunken self-castration. I am so grateful no one was on premises with a tape machine recording the explosions of swearing during my most extreme moments of joy.

This morning’s fog gave way to sunlight, the first in a couple of days. It’s now coming up on 4:30. Lengthening shadows stretch across the yard, clothes on the line earlier swaying in a breeze now hang motionless in still, cool air. The hours slip away. Thursday brings the autumn equinox, the nights grow longer.

Ah, well. That’ll change in a few months.

***************

[continued from last entry]

Fight #3: Long story. Long, strange, a bit goofy.

Me in college, my second or third year. I’d gotten to know a woman in directing class, the wife of one of my theatre profs — him three or four years older than me, her a year or two older than him. Interesting folks. Bright, talented. Her: witty, attractive, with a high-wattage smile. Our senses of humor meshed, the amount of time we spent hanging together slowly increased. Until one day she invited me to a dinner at their home. A social evening, with the two of them and a fourth person, a female student from the theatre department. Not your run of the mill social event, though. No, no. Kind of a test drive, a gauging of chemisty before taking another, much bigger step.

The joy had apparently bled out of Rod and Alicia’s [names changed] marriage sometime before I knew them. Bled out, evaporated, died away. Leaving a restless, uninspired pairing — leaving Rod, moreover, deeply unsatisfied with their sex life and wanting better. Which led him to suggest exploring open marriage, the two of them exploring sexual relations outside of their relationship. With Alicia and I getting progressively closer, she logically sounded me out. And in the discussion that followed, it became clear we were both feeling more than just passing interest in deepening our involvement. Me being a clueless knucklehead, I didn’t balk or think twice, at the idea of taking on something of that potentially troublesome class (involvement with married woman), getting entangled in a complicated situation with the potential to unleash life-altering drama of supreme goofiness.

Came the night of the dinner, I showed up at their place — a tract home in a housing development off campus — found myself passing the evening with Rod, Alicia and Lisa, a graduate student from the theatre department. A perfectly decent evening spent with three perfectly decent people, but with an undercurrent that endowed everything with a strange, slightly uncomfortable edge. Dinner (spaghetti), conversation (this and that), an after-dinner game (Group Therapy? something past its vogue and redolent of weird times), saying good-night, heading home to mull over the event and the prospect of odder events to come.

[continued in next entry]

Madrid, te echo de menos.

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