I am at home in November.
I am back, and the cold is a comfort, nostalgic. I need seasons. I will fly across the country to get them, back and forth. Everything feels familiar, the white sky, the bare branches, brick houses with pumpkins on their steps, skin-colored leaves.
I came to the screen door in my blue flannel pajamas to see him off to school this morning, and it felt like I had seen it before, this scene: the backyard, the clothesline, the neighbors' ticketed cars, the sky, the gray sweater, him on his bike. Maybe because I didn't have my contacts in and the world was a white blur. Maybe because I've been reading Don DeLillo's White Noise, which I bought at the used bookstore near my house in San Francisco, and in it, he talks about deja vu as being premonitions we are unprepared to believe. We know our own deaths. We've seen them. We forget them as a way to deal with them.
I like the book, though it smells, like all used books, like Virginia Woolf's house.
I am drinking tea and reading poems and am wrapped in a black velvet blanket, and later, I will rake leaves in the front yard while singing “King of the Mountain.” I am fine with not going anywhere. I am fine with working on these books of mine for a few more years, though I think I think I think it will happen faster now. Now something has been set in motion. It was set in motion years ago. Years ago, I decided. It decided me, and now is its time.
I can make it happen.
You know I believe in signs I said to Gilbert Blythe last night.
I had earlier seen, outside Akron, Ohio, a low flying light plane. It buzzed my car, disappeared in the trees. I think it was heading for a field, a crash landing, the broken corn. I hope they made it.
Last night, driving, almost in town, I saw another. Another plane came right over my car, lower this time, closer to there. I looked right, and there it was: the landing strip, the tiny airport, really just a lighted field.
Ryan Adams was singing on my radio:
Come pick me up.
Take me out
F*** me up
Steal my records…
With a smile on your face
And then do it again
I wish you would.
They made it. I saw them make it. I saw them land. I saw the side window open and a fist come out of the window, and raise itself. How is that for a sign? How is that for right now, my life, my twenty-seven years, twenty-four of them writing since my mother taught me to read in a pan of sugar, since I was born in an Indiana town, unfolding, finding its shape, and its time, and its time is now, and its shape is a tiny, fragile, flying paper airplane.