Thursday, November 03, 2005


Damn warm outside. And yet I’m wrapped in a scarf (I know, so French), with jacket buttoned high. I get cold not only in winter but in anticipation of winter.

Mr. B is frowning. He lets me know that I have neglected him. (C’mon, Mr. B, I just saw you yesterday!) I don’t think he is right. He is just jealous because lately, when there’s a crunch, instead of hopping on his little saddle, I gratefully accept another ride to campus – on a motorcycle. Mr. B thinks ill of motorcycles. I tell him: me too, me too, but this is a VINTAGE something or other. And, sorry, Mr. B.: it is faster and gets me places.

So why do I feel so cold? Maybe because, for the first time in some ten years I actually have a cold? Damn this outdoor stuff!

I get a call this afternoon. Someone has been reading my blog post. “It’s warmer today. Come see the sun set. Paoli is cool: you can see forever from the hills south of there.” Paoli is also far. Like a good half hour south from Madison. I have work to do. The sun sets at 4:46. Oh fine. Call me pushover Ninny. I’ll work at night while the world sleeps.

When you ride on a motorcycle at dusk, you notice the hills and valleys. It is horribly cold when you hit a valley. The wind whips your ankles and your wrists. Thank God your face is protected if you yourself are not the driver. Then comes a hill – a blast of warm air, but only for a while.

Do I have my camera? Indeed! Would you like to see a photo of the countryside south of Madison at dusk on a cold November day? Here, taken from a speeding motorcycle, trying to get to the top of a hill in time for the sunset [update: the setting sun was a failed attempt].

Madison Nov 05 018

At the top of Observatory Hill in Paoli the air is absolutely still. Quiet. Warm. Sort of. Manure mixed with chimney smoke fill your nostrils down in the valleys, but here, the air smells of autumn woods and fields of dirt, maybe because we are surrounded by autumn woods and fields of dirt.

Madison Nov 05 033

On the ride back I bury myself somewhere in the back seat of this vintage something or other. Photos not taken, roads not followed… what is pleasure if not accepting that which didn’t happen and relishing instead that, which replaces loss?