British poet Alice Oswald has a collection called Falling Awake. It’s an excellent title, and a compelling read. I’m considering what falls in fall. I feel myself tumbling. I fell off the blog-wagon and bumped my tailbone and then my elbow. Ouch! No one noticed. The gathering of nectar continues, the formation of melon flesh, the shaping of tunnels through thick dead grass. Air falls away as a giant puffball swells. A ripe chokecherry drops from its stem. What falls? Everything, everywhere on the surface of earth,or, as Nigel Calder wrote in Einstein’s Universe, “falling is the most natural way for objects to behave and our main mode of travel through the universe, aboard our planet.”
The day fills drop by drop, a pool, accumulating moments, no two alike. An excavator rumbling next door, a little yellow plastic flag crackling in a blast of wind. A monarch butterfly coasts like a kite, pausing to sip nectar from a purple pouch of vetch. I draw limp, clammy laundry from the washing machine, slinging the pieces over my shoulder, hang them outside to dry. The sun’s heat grasps my forearms through the light fabric of my shirt. I mouth a warm, crisp bite of toast. Shadows scamper across my wooden desk. A squeaky tractor bumps down the pot-holed road. A tiny red-belly snake tenses, coiled around itself under an empty tray in the shade of the house. The chair ticks and groans as I shift my weight. The little pot rings like a bell as the water boils; an egg lowered on a spoon dampens the sound.