Fall, the hinge season: time of transition, from warm to chilly, from preferred (by many) to tolerated (by most). Longer, pleasant days give way to shorter, often less pleasant ones. So-called because leaves fall from trees, which image–leaf separating from tree, doing so in obedience to the inexorable pull, life’s need to purge and eliminate so as to make space for the new–will always be associated with my mother’s passing. She will have died 19 years ago tomorrow, and the doctor in the oncology ward where she lay in a coma used this image to try to explain to my father, my sister, and me, with all the gentleness he could muster, that we needed to let her die. She was a leaf at the end of its life cycle, and we needed to let her detatch and fall.
For a long time now I’ve thought that if life were a film screenplay in development, even the most sentimental and wide-eyed of readers would toss it back with “You gotta be kidding me!” or “Patently unbelievable; scale back!” in its margins. But of course art tries its darndest to imitate the incredulity of life, and not the other way around.