"The orchard was still hot, still rustling and green, still haunted by the terror of snake bodies writhing to life under your feet."
Each fall I receive an exact intimation of how far away I have become. Such signs are not always dramatic, the Old Testament notwithstanding. When God, or memory, or the past, or any stern force wants to get your attention, the ways are legion. Ravens shriek over Ezekiel’s cowering head, branches burn and are not consumed, a child turns in a ninety-year-old womb. There’s a secular version too: a taste of a coming season in the wind can sweep your whole life past you, rich in portent. Elizabeth Spencer in The Voice at the Back Door describes this as “the dusty stir of autumn in the twilight,” with the indescribable “quality beneath the eagerness and color that tried to speak and could not.” Such thoughts are designed to haunt, in one way or another.