Speaking of Prairie

It’s fall and Peggy is chopping apples and watching West Wing, apples and more apples into a big metal pot. These will be applesauce, and this is the closest I’ve been to a manifestation of Little House on the Prairie.

Speaking of prairie, on warm days you can wander through the prairie-in-progress over in the park. I love this idea, a little fenced off area with a sign that the park district is planting prairie plants on purpose. That the prairie is something that can be resurrected and made real in a tiny space. Wee small ways that we are connected to the past and the earth.

It’s fall. Everyone’s sneezing. That seems to be the curse of fall in Chicago. On the train I switch seats away from the sneezers only to hear a mucous cough from my new seat-mate. I pretend to urgently read the CTA map and stand by the door instead, clutching a pole, but then think of all the germs on the metal.

Fire, fire, fire. Ice, ice, ice. We are warming here and freezing, alternately. I’m thinking of fire and ice, water, and how I was born in a place named Meadowlakes, after a series of non-existent meadows and very tiny lakes, which were really drainage ponds, which my grandfather pointed out as he drove us home one day.

The grandfather who is, right now, ticking fast through winding-down days, was always a truth-teller.

The truth, I guess, is that 60 degrees feels cold, but soon it will feel warm, and we don’t actually know whether someday the prairie — encouraged, furtive, in small clutches of weedy, rustling patches — will one day reclaim us.