We all need to muse more, and fall is the perfect time for sitting, pondering and reflecting, particularly in front of a fire. So says a piece I read recently. This was good news because all our adult children have outdoor fire pits. Lucky for us, from time to time we are invited to join them.
That said, I would never be able to muse around our son’s fire pit in the country, as I would be on edge waiting for wild animals to charge out from the woods in the dark, snakes to slither around my legs or bats to sweep down and tangle themselves in my hair. There are fire pits that call for reflection and fire pits that call for adrenaline.
Fortunately, two other fire pits we frequent are tucked into suburbia, where wildlife appears by appointment only. We were around a fire pit the other night as the sun set and the flames danced.
The air was tinged with a hint of melancholy, which I assume is essential to musing along with any beverage named pumpkin spice. I was thinking how the grands have given us more joy than we could ever give to them (the beginnings of musing) when two of the darlings began arguing over a chair. The tussle escalated and required parental intervention.
Things settled down, then the makings of s’mores arrived. Soon kids were jumping up and down, waving long forks with sharp metal tongs bearing flaming marshmallows streaking against the night sky. The window for musing had passed; it was now time for first aid readiness.
A trail I frequent is lined with trees that form a canopy overhead. In fall, it is like walking through a painting in which the colors continually change. It would be an ideal place to muse, but it’s also the time of year black walnut trees drop their fruits. A ripe black walnut is like a small green tennis ball filled with concrete, then rolled in an oil slick. They hit the trail with a crack and would make a similar sound against one’s skull. You must be wary of what is overhead while simultaneously watching for black walnuts littering the path, waiting for you to trip, roll an ankle, twist a knee and send you spiraling.
It’s hard to be vigilant and muse at the same time. Musing on the trail hasn’t panned out, but my kick-the-can skills, as applied to black walnuts, are top-notch.
The other day I sat on a bench in the backyard to linger a few moments and enjoy the colors. Truthfully, I had paused to check some things on my cell phone. The wind picked up and gold and crimson leaves spun to the ground. I looked up to see where they were coming from and saw a jet trail overhead. I remembered a flight I needed to book and dashed inside, preempting any and all musing.
I’ve added musing to my to-do list. Musing hasn’t happened yet this fall – and it may not ever happen this fall – but perhaps there is now reason to look forward to a long, cold, snowbound winter.
Lori Borgman is a columnist, author and speaker. Her new book, “What Happens at Grandma’s Stays at Grandma’s” is now available. Email her at [email protected].