Fall is late this year, or maybe it is early, depending on which home I am in. In Colorado, the trees shone burnished gold and tarnished crimson in mid-September, the mountain tops dusted with the arresting beauty of the first snow, my toes perpetually cold when padding towards the promise of coffee in the kitchen, the stale smell of the heater kicking in, a faint memory of the Milky Way last night. When I drove the twelve hours back to Oklahoma, the mid-October air was thick enough to catch in heavy, sweating handfuls and the trees were still heavy-laden with green as the road stretched endlessly on and I thought, maybe no time has passed, maybe it's still summer, maybe this was all a dream.
The first Saturday in October was so perfect I felt like crying. Like magic, we ascended above the tree line on a narrow, rocky jeep trail that would make my mom close her eyes and clutch her seatbelt if she were there, and then we dipped back down into liquid gold aspen groves, everything tinged with the saturation of color. The autumn of my dreams. Then the descent into Telluride, better known as the land of fairytales, eating a sandwich together on a bench under the kind of afternoon sun that penetrates all the way into your core. There was the drive home on undulating mountain roads, the pavement silvery and shimmering, and then egg rolls on the couch because, of course, our kitchen table is still being crafted. All fragments, all wondrous.
This is all part of the gradual process of moving out: a month here, a month there, enough time to ease into a new life and savor the old one, or at least in theory. In our premarital advising sessions I was forced to realize that I am more anxious than I'd like to admit. Everywhere, reminders to slow down, savor, remember, cherish. Contentedness is a fickle thing and I write to make myself more aware. How else do I hold close the sense of belonging, the familiarity of rutted streets, my bare feet on the cold bathroom tile trying to hold still being while fitted for my wedding dress, the old ritual of being on the phone every night come 10pm? And then, in the other place, the satisfaction of successful meal planning, a coffee-laced Saturday morning hanging up framed maps in our--our!--home, groups silent deer with regal antlers staring at me in the yard, a stolen kiss in the middle of dicing bell peppers. A year ago, all distant dreams.
A paradox, a limbo, an in-between. Always blindly searching for a conclusion at the end of the day when perhaps there is none to be had.