It could be the ash tree outside my bedroom window. It's a cool night and Lanny (that's my wife's name, you know, Lanny, since I've never actually mentioned that) has the windows open. Our whole north bedroom wall is windows, and young ash trees growing too close to the house. I keep them pruned small, because we like the foliage of a grove of tiny ash trees right there in the windows. There's a breeze and the leaves have turned yellow in places. It's fall, you know. Rained all weekend till this afternoon. I took the littler kids skateboarding over at the elementary school. Neighbor's kid shooting hoops there, talked for a few. Got a can of Coke from the vending machine on the way home. It feels like autumn today, so we made grilled cheese for dinner. I helped my freshman daughter Evie with her geography homework (can I help label a drainage basin on this diagram my HELL do I not manage part of the Upper Jordan Watershed?), read to the little kids and I was lying in my bed listening to the breeze in the yellowing ash leaves and watching a candle ticker on the dresser. I could hear a young couple talking at the corner about nothing and everything. Hardcastles, walking their dog. They're Lanny and me - 15 year ago. So I had my hand on my wife's bare shoulder while she slept there in the cool room but something brings me out here to the kitchen to type - what is it? I don't know. Maybe I think I have it too easy. Maybe I should do more with the life I've been given, maybe I'm worried that I failed my oldest daughter while I watch her struggling through this year, sort of without an anchor. Maybe I gave her too much freedom and neo-hippy advice instead of discipline and a college fund to squander. I don't know, the reality is that every day I just do what has to be done that day. Emotionally, mentally - I live hand to mouth. Dave Ramsey has no advice for that. There are no 401k loans for the soul. You only have what you have. So tonight, I'll probably go back to bed - back to the bare shoulder and the cool room and still-dark fireplace there and enjoy that even with the rain we've still got the fall to enjoy before hard winter gets here. Maybe I can fall asleep in the scent of undeservedly beautiful leaves and candles, and I can just be happy that tonight everything is OK. Or maybe I won't - but to see and feel and be awake all night in the autumn is alright with me. It's probably all due to the ash tree out there in the dark.
Good night, cyburbia. Get some sleep.