School days. Backpacks. Lunchboxes on the kitchen counter. New clothes and grass stained knees and sweatshirts shed by mid-morning to be draped over backyard fences.
Chilly mornings. Alarm clocks. Oatmeal in the crock pot. The dew on the hedge sharpening into frost, my breath on the air, woodsmoke curling from the chimney into the sky.
Acorns. Sunlight. Soldier-straight rows of fruit trees in acres of orchards. Apples blushing on their branches. The alchemy of green leaves turning to gold turning to mulch beneath my shoes.
Football. Marching band. The clang of the symbol and the crush of the crowd waiting for hot dogs and nachos. The chill of the night air hitting my skin. Hot cocoa. Rising steam. Mud and music and half-time games of catch at the ten yard line.
Early evenings. The end of daylight savings. An unexpected rain soaking the hay bales on the neighbor’s porch. Blankets. TV. Popped popcorn and Survivor and little boys up past their bedtime. Movie night. Game night. Uncorked wine breathing on the sideboard, cobbler in the oven.
Soccer practice. Routine. White uniforms bleaching in the sink. Smelly shin guards. Smelly cleats. Smelly boys with dirt on their knees and sweat on their skin. Calendars taped to the front of the fridge. Car pools and grocery lists and papers sent home from school.
Candy corn. Apple sauce. Chili and stew and Ball jars reflecting the light of the afternoon sun like so many crystal goblets by the kitchen sink. Apple coring. Pumpkin carving. Slippery seeds that the dog licks up off the floor.
Spirits. Spooks. Excitement by the light of a harvest moon yellow as a witch’s tooth. Happy children and hollowed gourds and flickering candlelight. Fog machines and cotton webs and skeletons hanging by a thread.
Candy, tart, tangy, and sticky-sweet. Fun-sized Snickers and Sugar Daddies bursting from overflowing plastic pumpkins like pinata favors. Treasures sorted by flavor and preference into piles on the living room floor, discarded dimes and dental floss keeping their own company.
Withering jack-o-lanterns rotting away on front steps. Pecan pie with whipped cream. Linen tablecloths and silver napkin rings, homemade place cards in the shape of a preschooler’s splayed hand. Chaos. The game on TV. Dogs underfoot and cousins clamoring for attention. Collective breath fogging the window panes as everyone gathers around the table.
Written for this week’s Writer’s Workshop at Mama’s Losin’ It.