Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Through the yet-golden leaves today came scents less of autumn than of summer. I'd have thought it wishful thinking on my part if it weren't for my liking fall so much. We're upon what Keats called "the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness." I thought of these verses as I made my way in across a winking carpet of dewey pearls and over to an old apple tree in my backyard. Autumn , the "close bosom friend of the maturing sun, conspiring with him to load and bless with fruit the vines that round the thatch eaves run." Kim, the Jehovah's Witness who had started my morning for me a bit earlier than I had intended to myself, followed behind me on the momentary path my shoes made through the morning wetness.

Those apples were maybe only the size of a fat baby's fist, but they were red and sweet, at least around their equator, you might say, as if the ripening effects of the sun hadn't quite worked into the green tartness of their polar regions. I relieved the branch of their weight, a whole cluster coming off all at once as the branch sighed, rising, so that I had to quick bring up two hands where I had thought one would do.

"Here you go, Kim. For the road." She smiled, shifting her Bible and stack of "Watchtower"s to accept two apples. I was glad to give them to her. It's not easy, doing what she was doing. "Nothing could compell me to flee in greater haste than if I were forewarned of a do-gooder coming to do me good," said Chesterton.
There are stickers a person can get now, little postage stamp-sized warnings for faith peddlers to "stay the heck away from this door!," and how was she to know but whether the next door she knocked on would have had such a sticker if its owner had only known about them?

For a minute there I had sure wished for a sticker, as I stood in my back doorway squinting, looking hungover, wondering what board meeting this nicely-dressed woman thought was being held at my house.
Surely they plan to have you at the disadvantage of shame, the way world hunger relief ads play on TV right after Thanksgiving. Her smile was pitying. It seemed to say, "Just look at yourself, poor lost little lamb--9 a.m. and still in your grubby t-shirt and shorts and Jim Carrey hair." And then she launched right in, wondering whether I didn't agree with her that death and pain sure were a bummer, uh huh, and wouldn't it be a better thing, really wouldn't it?, if I could inherit the Earth, just stay right here with Jesus Himself? I wondered what kind of hand I might play in the maintanance of the Earth once it had been bequeathed me, and thought maybe I could carry lambs or shocks of wheat like the smiling people in the magazine she was reading to me from.
But seeing as I hadn't yet inherited the Earth and had to be mosying along toward my current terrestrial occupation, I thought I'd better save my inquiries concerning matters eschatological for a time when I could be more sociable. I hated to just tell ther that, though, and was wondering what I ought to say when I spied over her shoulder those apples, huddled close together on the bough like a group of round rosey little women giggling out the latest gossip to one another. I wondered aloud whether she wouldn't mind just following me out a few steps into my backyard, and she didn't seem to think it so strange an idea, and so it was that she came by some apples to help her on her way, and perhaps ease any unpleasantness that the morning might yet bring her.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—

As she settled the apples in among the things in her bag, I noticed that in addition to the "Watchtower" magazines, she had some literature offering counseling resources for unwed mothers and their families. She noticed me looking, and smiled. A little sadly, I thought. " I have two teenage daughters myself," she said. "Kids in this town need Jesus so very much."
"Well, 'Thou hast thy music too,'" I thought. "Aren't we in about the same business?"

I told her what I did, and said she should listen in to me on the radio that evening, if she wanted to, and she said she might, and thanked me again for the apples. I took a big bite myself out of one--glory! Wouldn't anyone think it about a fair trade on Eden for a taste of such crisp sweetness?

"Good luck," I told her, and whether or not I should have, I meant it.

6 Comments:

Blogger M. Lumpkin said...

Ben.
Thank you for bringing fall to this mind starved for the slow decay and wet mist fall should be starting to bring to the places that were last home prior to now. Thank you for bringing kindness to a person who finds herself in a position to recieve more misunderstanding and anger rather than such a sweet reward as you fetched for her. I hope you may find more mornings in which you can rest, but more than that, more mornings in which your steps mark a trail in the mists of fall, as they did the night not so very long ago when you and Luke and I stayed up and trailed out to see the soft arival of the pre-dawn.

October 7, 2004 at 7:11 AM  
Blogger lil said...

ben, you're lovely.

October 8, 2004 at 2:07 PM  
Blogger Pepsica said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

October 11, 2004 at 6:18 PM  
Blogger Pepsica said...

...And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
Can we possibly be approaching mid-October so swiftly?
Leaves are at last taking their cue in this part of the world, none too soon. I was met with brilliant hues of deep amber and crimson while jogging on rain-saturated streets this afternoon. Ah, fall, we musn't let it pass us by without grabbing onto and dancing in it first.

October 11, 2004 at 6:19 PM  
Blogger inuit said...

Interesting blog about thirst for lust, keep up the good work thirst for lust

September 2, 2006 at 8:08 AM  
Blogger inuit said...

Interesting blog about thirst for lust, keep up the good work thirst for lust

September 2, 2006 at 8:23 AM  

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