Recovery


"A glass of beer's hardly worth the risk of a long night spent freezing in the backseat of some stranger's car or a crudely sliced artery leaking life."

Autumn along Colorado's Front Range feels volatile, like a slow-motion drunken bar fight. Nobody ever explains what sets off this country grown complacent from months of placidly sweet weather punctuated with no more than a few much-needed showers and the occasional thrilling hail storm, but by October, the situation turns deadly serious. The sharp edge of a Canadian cold front slips into the fray and everything instantaneously changes. A quiet threat's exchanged which almost nobody takes very seriously, the sun still shining warmly and a breeze hardly ruffles barely turning cottonwoods and aspens. When the slash comes, it takes me by surprise. I'd forgotten how savage that first swipe could be and my native generosity takes the first cut. I flee inside and start plotting my own demise, certain that I'll be sequestered there for the better part of the next half year.

The following day, the damnation seems permanent.
The sunshine neglects her primary responsibility, elbowed into oblivion by cloud cover suddenly altogether too friendly with the ground, though nothing further occurs to reinforce the initial threat. It's gone so quiet I can hear the marbles rolling around in my head, echoing dread and little else. I'm licking my fresh wound, unsettled by the coppery taste of my own blood. The raging wind seems to have calmed down some.

By the third day, the wound's already healing. I feel as though Autumn's returned. The breeze barely luffs my upside-down American flag. Cottonwoods resume shimmering, though their leaves have gone straight to crispy brown before fully displaying their usual gold. Aspens have yet to turn though every previously green growing bedding plant burns a desiccated crunchy brown. The geranium I brought in from outside sits smugly in the sunny front window happier than I ever remember seeing it. It's found its over-wintering home again.

The barroom butcher was just flexing his rage this time, leaving the shocked witnesses to recover their complacency however they might. They show fresh respect, if that emotion might reasonably be called respect, for genuinely heartless savagery. The thug never cares. Everyone else feels wary now, hardly trusting any sense to make sense of what might threaten next, but for a few days, maybe a week, maybe even more, the initial insult fades and Recovery commences. This season exchanges insults with respites, usually providing adequate time for the wariness to dissipate before whipping out his freshly unanticipated knife blade again.

Today's a Recovery day. A few sodden snow piles percolate into the ever-thirsty soil like blood seeping between warped barroom floor boards, otherwise, nothing suggests a recent tussle. The cops don't even muster a response to these assaults other than to post a few warning signs for flatlanders to slow down. A few will manage to figure out how to slip off the roadways anyway, addicted to speed and insensitive to even significant short-term changes around them. Most just stay home, knowing how the old Bucket Of Blood can get this time of year. A glass of beer's hardly worth the risk of a long night spent freezing in the backseat of some stranger's car or a crudely sliced artery leaking life.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved











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