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Bliss

One lunch break, done properly, can loop you into eternity and back--and today is the last day I would have expected such a thing. The sky is a metallic grey and everything is damp from the rain that they keep telling us to expect but which I'm not actually seeing. A sort of Holy Spirit rain (if you're Baptist).

This is a drab fall. Again, the rain is at fault: apparently we got too much of it in the spring and nowhere near enough in the summer. Silly us, we forget how lovely a shy, subtle fall can be. This is pointillism at its best: each tree's leaves alternating between faded green, dry brown, and soft yellow or red. Once my eye is caught by such tiny details, I begin to see that the overall effect is like a giant bolt of tweed being unrolled beside the road. The landscape is shot through with subtle gradations of color. Occasionally I drive through a sudden patch of fallen leaves.

I roll down the windows and turn up the country music . . . "Living on Love" is playing. Whoever thought that this warm, damp air, smelling of mildew and exhaust and diesel and dead leaves, could be so delicious? And the pale golden sunlight, trapped below the dully shining clouds close to the earth, sets off the earthy colors beautifully. In some spots, the clouds have moved aside from the sky's delicate blue. Everything is beautiful--pavement, dirt, grass, cars, faces, cigarette smoke. The things I had given up on as being ugly and meaningless are suddenly lit from within.

On a day like this, I think I understand redemption.

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