alone in autumn

There's a melancholy about days like this, this time of day in autumn. The sun is low. The wind is chill. Pine needles sprinkle down in clouds of copper. A jet stream chalk mark fades in a clear blue sky between trees. I'm missing my dad. Missing my mom. Missing my brothers and sister and friends. Missing San Francisco and The West.

Most of all, I'm missing what I never really had at all: a healthy boy.

I'm missing seeing the ocean, feeling the sand between my toes, meeting new folks in vibrant places abroad and at home. Missing looking forward to doing something new.

The days are getting shorter, the shadows stretching in ways unhopeful, with edges so sharp they hurt my eyes. Rocks and shrubs and trees that basked in the sun at times are now relegated to lingering shade. So many birds have flown south. No more nectar for the bees. The streets feel empty. The forests harbor lonely, naked trees and falling leaves.

Is this how it feels to be the only one alive in the world? Cars go by but where are the people? Sun beats down but holds no warmth. Where are the birds that chirp?

I see old photos. Me as a child in a striped sweater, smiling with eyes closed. Me as a giddy bride holding my groom. Me as a new wife with Calvin inside. They're all dusty and faded, looking grey against a shady green outside, a lawn that I've worn a path into doing countless laps with my son. A boy with whom I often feel alone.