Democrats. One of my favorite spontaneous meditations happened in Asheville, probably in 1963. It could've been 1964. I used to have a photo of me and my dad from 1964. We were standing in the back yard holding up campaign signs. Both of us had big grins. His sign said Johnson; my folks were staunch southern Democrats, quite liberal for that time and place. I seem to have inherited that. But at that age I had to be rebellious so plastered on my school bag was a bumper sticker reading AuH2O.
It gets worse. It was about that time I read The Fountainhead, then Atlas Shrugged; I had an intellectual crush on Ayn Rand, and now you know my darkest secret. That's even worse than when I got swept away by Anne Rice's novels, yes? Maybe not. I read Anne Rice as an adult, not a callow youth. I should have stuck with John Irving or Pat Conroy, more respectable literary crushes I had before Anne. In my teens and 20s I had really respectable crushes: Faulkner, Conrad, Durrell, Tolstoy. I couldn't put War and Peace down. I was up to dawn 2 nights in a row reading that. Later I got into contemporary literary fiction.
Leaves. It snowed every year in Asheville. Not a lot, but still a wonder to this ex-Florida boy who'd only seen snow fall once, a freak north Florida storm that put down an inch or two. I bundled up and said I was going out to play. I had an hour until dinner. I walked down the hill past the dahlia farm next door, then climbed through a barbwire fence, snagging myself as usual. I walked along a fencerow between two pastures to a stepover creek and into the woods. These woods were a half mile walk from home. Back then I considered that quite a hike. I was in lousy condition. I missed my vacant lot hideout across the street. I walked out onto the hillside, scuffling through the leaf litter of the year until I came to a favorite spot, then just stood there. Snow was now just beginning to fall. I became aware of a soft sound. I pulled off my stocking cap to hear better. It was the sound of snow falling on dry autumn leaves, a delicate whisper in the still air. I caught a bit of heck for being late to dinner. I knew I couldn't explain what'd happened, so I didn't even try.
Don't even try.