One Less October

Posted on November 8, 2019


Memory is a faded floral tapestry, and if the mind’s eye can no longer follow a thread, occasionally the present will create a window on a single flower, the way sometimes a clear patch forms in a turbulent stream, letting you espy the white fin of a loafing char, the gold-plated side of a spawning cutthroat, the hammered silver of a steelhead. And so it is, sitting by the fire as she turns her head, a perfect Rembrandt triangle of shadow-bounded light falling across her cheek, soft and textured as a pink rose petal,  that I am drawn back to some blossom in time.

I cannot remember the river, or the season, or the fish, but I remember catching a perfect cast out of the corner of my eye, each unfurling to a potential memory. I remember the soft afternoon light forming its own Rembrandt triangles on a soft young cheek, a flash of white under the brim of her baseball cap. And then, another moment or another river or another day all comingled, a rise, the bright silver flash of a fish coming up from the depths, us laughing and me falling down while trying to net the fish, Stanley and Ollie on the river, it coming to hand or breaking away I cannot remember, but the sweet liquid roiling of the laughter cascades from my mind, down to my heart, into my belly, where unspent it burbles away into a ramble of tiny white rapids, into the tailout of time.

It was all of those Octobers we spent weaving roses and begonias, daffodils, and gladiolus, the occasional voluptuous orchid, so that now in front of fall’s first fire, with one less October to gather and bind threads into our warp and weft, when the window clears: there they live more perfect in bloom, color, and texture – more alive – for the remembering, embellished perhaps even with threads stolen from other flowers in the dying light. When I no longer tread the treacherous stones, and my cast has gone, still I hope more perfect days lie ahead traversing this garden we have sown, hand-in-hand by the wan fire light.



Posted in: Photography