Lost and Fell

October 26, 2014

The Genehouse walk is a crunch now, with waves of fallen and falling leaves, and my boots kick up orange and fire red and purple leaves and they crunch acorns. The sound is like popcorn popping, and I think of having popcorn tonight, and I see popcorn everywhere, in egrets and pelicans and flint and quartz.

Last night at Farmer B.’s annual bonfire and hayride, we all stood under the starlit sky and watched the international space station arc from northwest to southeast, a low candleflame of peace. Did the astronauts see our fire? Did they see the world on fire?

At sunset it was eighty degrees, and my drive on the way to Farmer B.’s house led me into shadowy canyons and back up to hilltops where the sun was a flaming pumpkin on the horizon, and the bats rose up and the swallows and the nighthawks.

Farmer B. had made his fabulous chili without beans and folks cooked hotdogs on the fire and set marshmallows on fire. Lucas did his famous log rolling trick and his feet flew in the air and he landed on his back, this fallen boy. And he sprang back up, as the young are wont to do, and no girls saw this so he was good, but now girls may read this—damn. We rode the hay wagon and launched Chinese lanterns into the sky and they chased the space station and lost. And fell.

Lucas and Maureen and Blake have a new, fourth family member, Anderson, and the baby made his debut last night. It is fascinating to watch the world next to a baby, for whom a fire is a miracle and a hotdog is ambrosia and a chocolate chip cookie is a teething salve and a lit Chinese lantern is a Jules Verne jewel and people want to touch and smell and coo at you, and you drink it all in and there is no death and you haven’t yet heard Peggy Lee singing, “Is that all there is. . .”

In the Lost and Fell of life, I have mostly fallen, have sometimes been lost literally and always existentially, but all my falls were into soft leaf piles—so far. I am a very cool cat, as everyone knows, and I figure I’ve spent six of my nine lives.

But in this moment, my walk is a crunch now, and fallen and falling leaves, and my neighbor Irene brought me her yummy squash stew for supper, and popcorn awaits, and my cat snores in my lap and my jar of honey from Farmer B.’s own hives sits on the window sill and glows in the west light.

About Eugene Jones Baldwin

I am a writer: non-fiction, fiction, journalism (Alton Telegraph), essays (The Genehouse Chronicles) and have a website: eugenebaldwin.com. I've published a couple dozen short stories and had eleven plays produced. Current projects: "Brother of the Stones" (available on Kindle), a book of short stories; "The Faithful Husband of the Rain, short stories"; "A Black Soldier's Letters Home, WWII,;" "There is No Color in Justice," a commentary on racism; "Ratkillers," a new play. I am an avocational archaeologist and I take parts of my collection of several thousand Indian artifacts (personal finds) to schools, nature centers, libraries etc. and talk about the 20,000 year history of The First people in Illinois. (See link to website) I'm also a playwright (eleven plays produced), musician, historian (authority on the Underground Railroad in Illinois, the Tuskegee Airmen) and teacher.
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