Corn Maze

The air is cool tonight.

A promise was made to me: one day, you will not regret the past. At times, I get good, long stretches of that sort of peace. Others, they are intermittent as an old AM radio signal in an October thunderstorm. In the static, I am reminded that it takes work to get into a position to receive such grace—scary, uncomfortable, soul-squirming, vulnerable work, the kind that makes you afraid you’ll lose your self esteem and wind up lost in the moonlit corn-maze of your mind.

But tonight, the air is nice, blowing in my upstair windows. It reminds me that such a promise can come true. I am self-centered enough to wonder, yeah, is it because I exercised so hard yesterday, prayed last night, and did not become a rambling paranoiac in the office today? I am glad to remember the good parts of autumns, and days when the maple leaves would not stop falling from the three big trees in our yard. They were messy and crunchy underfoot. They would get soggy and smother the browning bermuda grass, and I would mulch them up.

We had fall parties with luminaries lining the drive, and chili. We were the noisy neighbors. Cars parked up and down the two streets of our corner lot, driver’s sides in the ditches, roofs slanted toward the lawns in the hazy streetlight. There was Chex mix hot from the oven, and the teens rolling their eyes and laughing while the grownups were drunk and sang the Mamas and the Papas around the table at midnight: “all the leaves are brown, and the sky is gray.”

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