The Get a Girl to Go to School List

I’ve decided
after struggling
yet again
to get a girl to go to school
(my daughter to middle school)
I should take a walk and
make a list
of things I love
in the hope
they’ll make me
feel better
able to endure
these terribly difficult mornings.


I love the goldengrove unleaving
at the start of my walk:
once pale yellow leaves
turn gold, golder, golden
then past golden
then nearly light brown
then, when done changing color,
fall to the ground.


I love a single leaf falling
off of a tree
taking the time
to give a good show.
And also
many leaves falling
almost like snow
if snow were pale green
or light yellow
or rusty gold
or neon orange
or fiery red.


I love how the shimmering sparkling gentle breeze
moves through the trees
transforming leaves into musical instruments.
Today’s instrument: a maple maraca.


I love when dead leaves amplify mystery
making that rustling sound
(which is probably just a squirrel
gathering nuts on the ground)
much more ominous and uncertain.
Could it be that fox—the one I saw here last spring
near the Winchell trail?


I love the many versions of gold
covering the slopes below the oak savanna.
They contrast so nicely
with the pale green
the bright green
the lime green
and the orange—
a color palate that works for the woods
(but might seem tacky
in a living room).


I love how the old chain link fence just past the oak savanna
weaves through the trunk of a tree.
One end of the fence enters a hole where
perhaps a limb used to be
the other end
comes out the other side.
Surely the fence
was there
before the tree or
was the tree there
before the fence?


And I love leaving the gorge
and returning to civilization
to hear the wind chime at the end of the block
with its haunting whole tone scale and
to greet the whimsical wood creatures
scattered around the neighborhood
with their little gnome houses
and little gnome-sized doors
built into trunks of beloved trees
cut down but never forgotten and
to see an over-sized bright blue
almost purple but not quite
front door that transforms
a house’s gray exterior
into something special.

And I believe
it will be okay—
middle school will end
anxiety will be overcome or
at least endured and
getting a girl to go to school
will be easier (someday).