squirrel sky

by bam

they’ve tiptoed back, those november skies, the ones that wrap me and cloak me in their charcoal-gray-with-tint-of-violet wonder.

i am safe inside the nubby folds of such a sky, when simmering smoky gray heavens sink low down to the earth, the place where i walk and trudge and hope and dream and too often feel the heartache.

i like it when the limbs go bare, when we see the bones again, when sky presses in on us. when we feel–or at least i do–less far away from what’s above.

it’s not that i’m so melancholy. not really, i’m not. it’s just that sky the color of eeyore, that somber donkey with the pinned-on tail, the one who walks the woods with pooh and dear, dear christopher robin, all through the enchanted pages of a.a. milne, it’s just that such a deep rich palette calls to me, whispers to the curled-up places in my heart, gives them kinship and room to unfurl.

i never know if it’s about to snow, on days when the deep dark gray comes in. i hold my breath and hope, though.
first snow is sacred. and the clouds, so full with something that their white is turned to sooty gray, they whisper promise. something’s coming.

or else it’s just plain a gray day. a day that beckons for a blanket and a cup of tea. it nudges. tap-taps at my shoulder: sit down. be still. soak in the oversotted sky.

it’s turning-in time.

all around the world is doing the same. the bulbs, i’ve tucked deep down into their sleeping places for the winter. the birds, mostly now, have skittered off, the ones for whom these chill winds are far too chilly. but all the stalwarts stayed behind, the squawking jay, the scarlet flash of cardinal, the sparrows and the hatches, they’re all here, loading up on seed, the seed i pour each morning at the feeder, in my unending bow to st. francis of the woodlands.

even the squirrels, i see, have packed thick wads of leaves way up high in nooks of branches. they’ve made chambers l.l. bean himself might envy, what with their storm-tested knack for blocking out the cold. and not a bad perch for chomping acorns either, blithely tossing out the not-so-chewy caps that rain on passersby.

my little one and i were walking to the bus just now, talking all about the sky (and dodging acorn caps that rained at quite a clip).

i asked him if he, too, liked a sky that wasn’t full of sun, that gave you reason and permission to wrap deep inside your thoughts.

well, first he looked up in that way that children do, to check to see if their mama’s sprung a leak, gone cuckoo. but then he let on that he too didn’t mind a dark-sky day, when the traffic jam of clouds hint that something might be in the works in the bring-on-the-weather department.

as we shuffled through the leaves, the curled-up golden maples that bring crunch and light aplenty to a gray november morn, i asked him what color he would pick to draw the sky today.

he looked up and answered, simply: “squirrel.”

i looked up too. and sure enough, i saw. the curds of cloud are gray and grayer, not unlike the furry famished rascals who aim to raid my feeders, who dig up my bulbs soon as i turn my back, who might walk right in and take a plate of dinner, were i to forget to slam the door.

and so it is, a squirrel-sky day.

a day when all of us might see fit to gather up a wad of golden leaves and curl down deep inside. and while we’re at it, toss out acorn caps to pelt the passersby.

if only i could climb a tree.

oh, goodness. dashing here today. a long day’s newspaper writing lies ahead. by now the sun’s peeked through and my gray day is all but blown over the lake. sunny days do have their golden-drenched virtue, but given a choice, i fear i’d take a gray november day any day. anyone else all for curling up and staring out the gray gray window?