When he goes, I never seem to notice. Oh, perhaps on a heavy and hot summer’s evening when I’m too tired to sleep, he crosses my mind but he is as suddenly out as I pull up my hair from my wet neck and back. I tie up the damp mass allowing the summer night and my own body’s stillness to cool my skin and ease my mind from him.
I am hardness itself I suppose. I do not feel so, though, as I cut the branches of the hyssop, gather the spring fruit, dry the medicinal and edible herbs and separate each upon their hook. I feel tired and weary, not hard and brittle.
I suppose I sound like some forgotten lady in a fairy tale and you will be waiting for me to discuss my dark knight or darkening night. That’s not the case you know. I lead a normal life. I wake in the morning, trudge to work, pay my bills, go to church.
It’s Adam’s curse to pull from the earth, and my lot I suppose to feel pain in giving him a child. Long, weary years have passed and Adam is asleep and I weed the garden now and convince myself along with my sisters that the pain of birth is all but forgotten.
We lie to ourselves.
So you see, I’m not hardness itself when I state that though I think of him, I do so transiently during these summer days that keep the night away.
It’s when I see the leaf of the black walnut trees fall in a flittering, lighted and almost straight down fashion, even when the wind blows, that he becomes present. I suppose it is their design that keeps them on the straight and narrow path down, and wonder if God gives even the plant life the free will to decide how to descend.
The hickory, the maples turn to their glow and shimmer that illuminates the night in a light that is not bright but burns. This illumination guides my feet on a well tread path that fades as spring makes itself into summer. I forget it is there, this path, while August forever lingers but I remember as October burns deep into November.
The herbs are hung and the doe and her young scatter before the smell of smoke and feel of winter. I lift, at last, my mind to his longings. Both new and familiar I open the gentle gate of the north wind that softly scatters the leaves of golden, scarlet, and brilliant dying green into a path. His path. His approach is affirmed as the leaves darken and hold upon their serrated edges the web-like hardness of freeze at my feet.
I lift my head and close my eyes as the wind heightens and the leave blow dry, the air about me turns into a whirl of frozen white. The lift of weight and the fall of my harvest plunder falls away as we meet. My love.