Sunday, September 17, 2006

On Being (Temporarily) Manless in September

Bleached out, saggy summer takes her leave. Finally. Fall has fallen and the evenings have cooled off enough to throw open the windows and throw on another blanket. Cold feet feel great after months of sweaty ones. The early autumn light drenches an extra layer of color on every surface. And, after months of being too hot to dance around my house when I clean and cook, today I found myself straight-out jamming to Lauryn Hill. I'm feeling hip-hop.

It's great. Except.

Halfway across the world, ECG is presenting at several conferences, making connections, and exploring job opportunities. He's getting a chance to see where his dreams may take him. After a week in Gottingen, Germany, a city he found exceptionally livable due to the culture of quality work and attention to detail, he's now spending a week at another conference in Rome. I don't think he is enjoying Rome nearly as much as he did Germany.

I'm so happy that ECG has this chance, but I miss him. In the last few days, the missing him has overwhelmed the excitement I feel for his opportunity to adventure. In addition, as much as I am enjoying the onset of fall, I keep enjoying it in the ways that I think about explaining it to him. My appreciation of it has been filtered through his absence, so each experience becomes a story directed towards ECG as my audience. We've been communicating almost entirely through email, with one five-minute conversation on Friday morning before the line went dead, when instead of ECG's voice, quiet filled my ear. In each case of emailing or conversation, I am trapped because I want to tell him every detail of each day and how I feel about all of it, while hearing all of his details and feelings, but it's impossible to keep up on the daily-ness of one's life when one isn't around to experience it with you. Together at home, we spatter our conversation onto the mirror during morning toothbrushing, we shoot each other brief funny emails through the course of the day, we come home and take turns complaining, laughing, and chatting. We problem solve over dinner and house organizing. We talk in front of the TV, tease each other, gripe about doing the dishes. As we cuddle, we murmer, and fall asleep tangled up. Our words are tangled, our bodies are tangled, our thoughts are too. So, as every couple knows, it sucks being apart.

Next Saturday can't come fast enough.

While I wait for ECG's return, I have been staying late at work grading papers and planning. I haven't cooked much, nor have I spent as much time outside celebrating the onset of fall as I usually do. This weekend, I decided I had to remedy that. I love this season, after all, and whether ECG is here or not to celebrate it with me, I need to appreciate the bounty the season offers. So, last night, I made a hearty vegetable soup, rich with greens and completely void of any form of meat, the kind of meal that ECG would not even recognize as a meal. Oh man, it tasted good. And today, I wandered through The Huntington grounds, thrilling in the September light and colors. I took pictures with ECG in mind. With each shot, I remembered the ways that ECG has taught me to use my camera, ways that I never knew before I knew him. It's just one of the many things I never knew before I knew him.

So here, ECG and whoever else may read this, is my Sunday afternoon at The Huntington.

Bright colors.

Variations on the theme of green.

O, las floras.

Critters, or evidence thereof.


kristan said...

I met those fish! (We went on Saturday.)

Melikay said...

Hang in there Ms Wenger. I'm glad we got to play tennis today!! The weather was perfect!