I was reminded of this, written last year, after walking at dusk today:
My Four Seasons
In spring, after it stops raining, the sun comes back out. A spider thread strung from the pear tree to the clothesline, the strands catch light, still covered with drops of rain. Mylar made-in-China pinwheels in the vegetable garden shimmer and spin in the wind. Accordion music livens an April sunset: blue sky in the swale of the valley and huge clouds, pillows or cotton, the setting Pacific sun dyes red. Even at nine p.m., there’s leftover luminescence in the sky. I’m in love with the smell that comes from burning a beeswax candle: honey, of course, and sweetness, velvet and butter, too. Earlier in the day, I stretched out on a concrete curb in the co-op parking lot, a sponge for sun, eyes closed, arms by my sides palms up, my asphalt shivasana, opening my heart to the world.
Summer’s wind in the box canyon whistles, followed by the French horn of the morning lumbering train. Panang curry with kaffir lime and a glass of sauvignon blanc at Typhoon in downtown Portland follows street music everywhere I walked—a polka on a trumpet, spackle bucket drums, a fiddler and a rasta teen on bongos in Pioneer Courthouse Square. Back home, on the living room couch I watch The Human Stain on a simmering afternoon. When I look up through the open stairwell to the skylight, I see a brown leaf on that square of floating sky. In rains, unexpected in August, and the sun shines at the same time, drops falling on the dry yellow grass. Lawn chairs skate in the wind, temple bells sing, an audible whisper in chorus for the tall, swayed trees.
Rain at dawn, an autumn bath with bubbles, and light that goes from gray and cloud to brighter, miracle sun. Chickadees flit from one tree to another, to the feeder and back to a branch, to the feeder and back to a branch. I watch an oak leaf fall to the ground, slow spiral swirl. On my walk, a newt on the trail, cattails brown and stalky, water making a stream of what used to be a farmer’s field before the rains returned, reflection of puddle in sky. Afternoon ends with the hardwood floor mopped, an apple cake in the oven, and Mozart’s Piano Quartets. With dark, the columns of fog turn into thick, three-dimensional, atmospheric veins. There’s shadow, my hands typing, when I sit out on the deck at sunset. The wind lifts my bad haircut hair.
Winter days in western Oregon: rain sun blue sky low clouds high clouds gray rain white sun green grass fields. One January day, snow falls thick, over a foot on the ground and we’re stranded at home—in this part of the world they don’t fund snowplows—even the four-wheel drive on the pickup can’t make it up our rutted drive. Walking the hill, I look back across the Willamette Valley: snow-capped peaks not a cliché but the volcanoes of the Cascades. Winter days can be rain sun blue sky low clouds high clouds gray rain white sun green grass fields. The stained-glass lamp on my desk throws violet light through panes along the bottom of the shade. I put Bowie on the turntable, Ground Control to Major Tom, remember the way we danced, rock and roll angels on the head of a pin.
Photo by Peter Fitzgerald of a detail of Marc Chagall’s Four Seasons mosaic in Chicago, Illinois.