It was a good spring, a good summer, and even the autumn is not quite ready to let this city go. So: some pictures, not nearly enough to do it justice.
Not much more than a few sentences tonight because what was I thinking with this every day posting thing. BUT. Can I just say that I love our local writer's festival, and I also love that every year I get to go to more and more events. (Remember when I talked about that hard-copy quandary a few days ago? You can't buy ebooks at an event like this and I like that the sale table helps support the festival.) Writers are kooky and neurotic and also very normal and I like being in their presence and listening while they talk about their work even when what they've written isn't my cup of tea.
I'm deep into Undermajordomo Minor and part of the charm of it is that I've heard Patrick DeWitt read from it in his very deadpan way, so now I kind of feel like I can hear his voice throughout the book, the way I always do with Neil Gaiman after hearing him read the audiobook version of Fragile Things. The rest of the charm of it is that the book itself is bent and wonderful and I lose track of time while I read it. That's what I read books for.
... because I had one of those "the best camera is the one you have with you" moments.
And I took a shot, and put the phone away, and brought the groceries in, and made a fast batch of carrot soup for Myron's dad, and reheated some rotisserie chicken for myself, and did a face mask, and then I remembered that I wanted to write a little something today, something barely bigger than a photo caption. I checked out the photo. It was close enough, so here it is--after what feels like two full weeks of cloudy skies at a time when I need crispness most, the gray blew away and the colors came out again.
To think I used to believe branches were unforgivably ugly.
Can I say I like having the excuse to write such short, inconsequential things and to have them count for something? I do. I'm going to be all about the brevity. FREEDOM.
'cause I would really really love to stick around
I have had chronic autumn whining disease since I was about eight years old. As The Cult of Fall became ever more prominent in recent years I always just thought autumn lover types were harmlessly insane. That first yellow leaf always gave me more foreboding "Winter is coming" vibes than Ned Stark ever could. The urban forest here is gorgeous, though, even though it's almost uniformly golden and less showy than eastern landscapes. Walking down streets like this, when the light is weaker and the dry leaves clatter against each other, you feel held. It's kind of amazing.
I feel like it's a good thing, or maybe just a necessary one, to occasionally get sick of the sound of your own voice, no matter how grand your self-esteem may be. If you have a blog you can take time off from contributing to it, but unless you shut it down the voice is still there, hanging out, collecting six stray page views a day. Someone out there is hearing you for the first time and deciding if you screech or echo or ring like a big old church bell. If you're lucky someone will tell you what you sound like, and if you're very lucky they will say there's something in your sound that reminds them of a Dolly Parton song, the one they expect to hear when they go to their great reward. They will confess that, yes, Dolly Parton is their personal vision of what God must be like. There are worse religions.
I'm wearing Kai again lately, and Child too. Kai is nectar for the skin and perfect for wearing out of the house because it won't clobber anyone else. I wore it Saturday while I walked through St. Boniface with the local WWPW group and caught stray notes of it when my scarf moved against my throat. Child is for feeling your humanity and opening up Notepad windows to write blog posts and breathing deeply and listening to Myron talk about sports anthropologists. These two fragrances are both oils; I've gotten away from anything that sprays these days. A tiny ball-stoppered vial of The Exact Friction of Stars sits in the little dish where I stow my hair-clippies; I only wear that when I wear heels. Near my watches, I keep a trio of the old Aveda Desert Pure-Fume oils, also in rollerballs. They're ancient and haven't broken down after all these years (twelve or thirteen, I think???). I'll be sad when they're gone. I wore Joshua Tree the day I got married. It's bliss, green and gorgeous bliss. I'll tell you what, though: Helmut Lang is bringing back their amazing fragrances and this means I can use what's left of my bottle of the EdP without raising my fist to the heavens every time. And oh, I will spray it, will I ever.
It's fall now and that usually hurts. This year it doesn't. It's like that year I realized I liked raw tomatoes after hating them all my life. Autumn isn't beautiful here and its main function seems to be reminding you how short summer was. (We had snow in May. We'll have snow again shortly. They say it snowed the other day; I didn't see it so it's just not true.) But it's crisp and everyone's happy about football and hockey coming soon and the face-paring winds and the snow itself, all of which reminds Winnipeg that there are some things it does best, and one of those is winter. They tell you that if you dress for it, it shouldn't bother you. Believe them at your peril, but dress for it anyway.
Wish list: A pair of chocolate-milk colored argyle socks, in soft soft cotton. A thick winter hat that will cover my escape-artist ears but won't wreak too much hat-head on my new longer hair. A pocket universe where I can escape to read without time passing in this one. The perfect lavender-gray nail polish. Corduroys, so deeply burgundy that they look black. One last perfect peach (or time travel back to August for one). That I had hidden away a slab of alder-smoked salmon the last time we made it, so that I could eat it for breakfast tomorrow. Health and ease for the people I love. And maybe for the Helmut Lang people to convince someone in power to resurrect Guess Original, which I wore during the years I believed in myself the most.
The danger of getting sick of your own voice and subsequently going silent is that eventually you have things to say, some big and portentous and others tiny and meaningless, as ephemeral as a fragrance. Silence builds like noise does. And then no matter how you begin, it feels like this:
This is me, trying not to be silent, clearing my throat in case of portentous things. Making noise out of smells. Remembering my mother's giant, heavy, cold bottle of Obsession, which I got to use on special occasions. Taking thirty seconds to imagine the sacraments in the church of Dolly Parton. Dressing for it.