On a cool misty morning,
the spritz of rain accompanied by the decrescendo of the orange October temperature,
makes gray the vibrant reds and burgundies as they hang on to their hardwoods.
The dust cloud behind the humming street sweeper is knocked down, and instead becomes a trail of brackish oily froth. He hums along, erasing a year’s worth of road grime – or at least relocating it to the curb.
And the little boys, with tousled blonde curls, ready to climb and leap and play in the cool autumn morning are imprisoned by bars of near icy mist and currents of water dripping from the roofs.
“Why can’t I go outside, mother? Why is the sun not shining?”
And the mothers, at least the wisest of mothers, with their infinite knowledge of what happens above the clouds, and on the other side of the earth while their sons are sleeping, tell the little boys,
“Sons, the sun is always shining. He is always shining somewhere.”
I was driving through my old hometown.
It’s been a decade since I lived there, and the signs on the stores have all changed, and the names on the mailboxes have changed in some parts of town.
And I watch with a bit of confusion as the heroes of my childhood fumble across the street…
One man, white haired, his head hung low, to watch each tentative steps as they scrape across the asphalt.
His arms smaller, his back hunched, his chest hollow, his mind dulled.
These were the lumberjacks, the soldiers, the factory workers, the janitors, the shoe salesmen, the intellectuals, the gentlemen I remembered…
whose strength were oaken,
whose constitution was golden,
whose wits were sharp like blades.
And for a moment, I realize that in my own oncoming middle age, that this too may be my destiny.
I was a hero in my youth, jostling timbers, lifting stones, and running along mountains.
And now, I’m closer to my broken old heroes than I am to the young man I once was.