What will I do with all those leaves?

Oh, is it grey and messy here today. Undecided weather: weather that can't make up its mind about whether to stay or to go, to increase velocity or ratchet back, to be something devastating or just continue as an annoyance. The weather has no mind. I know this. But days like today leave one wanting to find an intelligence behind meterology, just to see whether that will help make the joke of warmish, drizzling January weather make any kind of sense.

This whole place is in a moment of teeter: students return tomorrow, and there's a palpable mood of acceleration rushing into the corners of things. Someone asked me today whether I feel gleeful, watching others get ready for Monday. Gleeful is not the word, but I'm happy (for my research career's sake) to report that wistful is not the word, either. Alternately, parallelingly engaged: these are perhaps the words.

Papers and notebooks are starting to circle up. Stepping into the upstairs study today to check something in a mirror, I effortlessly discovered the notebook whose whereabouts I've been trying to remember for days. Buried things self-excavate. Old ideas and plans, things I haven't considered consciously for months, if not longer, meet me at the breakfast table, which is actually my bed, late in the mornings, which are sometimes the afternoon. I muster and meditate.

On days when the weather will not yield me a good view, I dig into my archives and pull you a better picture. You must know this by now. Tonight's is from the drive-by photoshoot my father and I did in the fields ten minutes from my parents' house on new year's eve. "The light! The light!" I said to my father, after my mother agreed to take care of the endgame of baking the cherry pie for dessert. "Come on!" He seemed reluctant. But he's the one who taught me that when the light comes, you must go. "I'm going to get in the car. Come on come on come on." As soon as I saw that he was indeed getting out of his chair, I dashed to the car. We dashed to the fields. We were gone for an hour. It was magnificent. With leaves on the trees and crops in the fields, nothing would have worked quite this well. The seasons all seem to turn up for their own kind of art. But I am coming to appreciate the cast of a wintering field: what lies fallow promises glory; what seems ruined shelters astonishment.