The leaves on the ground are red and orange and gold and wet in the rain. The air stinks of fall, of soil going to sleep and grasses falling into dormancy. The squirrels stash nuts on my hose reel, on the little ledges of decorative trim all over the house, in the compost heap. Hamish the Corgi races smiling through the fluttering heaps of leaves at top speed, he thinks the rustling noises make it seem like he is going faster, faster, faster. Miss Tibbit the Useless Little Black Dog stands at the back door testing the temperature with her nose, holding one dainty foot above the rain-wet stoop. Maybe, maybe not. She can’t decide if she really wants to go outside.
I should feel something when I look at all this charm but for the next day or three or four I’m numb. Numb at best. A many-months long project finished up this morning when the grant proposal was submitted. I balanced working on it with other writing projects, other lab work, the start of archery season, and the rest of the WideEyedLife.
Consequently, the life isn’t feeling WideEyed. It feels more like dragging the self with shattered nails and scraped raw nerves up splintered steps to the office and chaining the hands with rusty, clattering blood soaked manacles to desk and keyboard, moving fingers up and down and hoping something useful comes from the hacking and clacking while paired hounds of leftover stress and residual anxiety howl in my cold and shivering emptiness.
Tomorrow’s a new day. I’ll practice smiling in preparation.