As I drive home, my hand shields my eyes from the brilliance of the moribund Fall sun that paints the rain-pregnant cloud underbellies salmon.
And just like that and without warning and despite the wash of the intervening decades, a daydream supervenes, and I’m back-timed to nineteen eighty-one when I was a young boisterous man.
In those days, I lived just west of Washington, D.C. in what was then a provincial sleepy bucolica called “Herndon.” In contrast to the Arizona desert where I’d been born, Northern Virginia offered all four seasons, something that was new to me.
In the fall when the leaves were turning and the daylight grew shorter with each passing day, and the air was crisp with the odoriferous taste of wood smoke, one would think the world itself was on the cusp of change as if following the rotation of the seasons. I was a senior in high school back then. I was lonely back then, and, one day, I met a girl who was lonely, too, and she had a fetching smile and green eyes.
One late-afternoon, we drove on Route 7 to a nondescript farmers market near Wolftrap. It was all fields and farms back then, and the market’s proprietor made his own apple cider from the orchards on his property, and the cloudy liquid had a wild earthy taste and would ferment if you let it, and she and I would drank the cider and our gloved hands found each other’s and we walked outside among the tractors and hay bales and ornamental colorful corn and she came close and smelled of woman and apples, and we, with deliberate slowness, kissed, and I tasted her lip gloss and my heart raced and we slowly walked back to the car.
And the snow started falling.