The Annual Autumn Dance

Head-banging November 1st, started with my hair dryer shorting out. There was a back-up dryer in the basement that our guests from England and Paris had used in October. With me, there is no direct route from A to B in my house. I stopped to wash dishes in the kitchen on my way to the basement when it happened: a long curl fell over my left eye. I gave my head a bounce and more followed. Earlier, while getting Liam ready for school, it was only 32 degrees. I knew we had a freeze the night before because Bill fell down our deck stairs on the way out the door at 6:30 a.m. I heard a rumbling and crashing noises then silence. I flew outside bare-footed and pranced as the bottoms of my feet hit a thin, cold layer of ice. Bill was standing, stretching his back, and wiggling his wrists. A taxi was in our drive waiting for him to start his bag drag to China. “I’m fine… really, I’m fine.” Afraid of missing his plane, he walked away with a cup of hot coffee all over his shirt and suit coat. Silly string from Halloween antics stuck to his butt and his bag. Yes, it had dipped to 32.

“Why do I have to wear this creepy equipment?” Liam complained as I re-introduced him to said equipment. Winter gloves. With one step outside, he knew. “Whoa! It is cold!” and he snuggled the hood of his winter coat around his ears. The rainbow of silly string all over the drive reminded him of Halloween night. “Last night was so much fun, but I hardly remember any of it!” Often, I take this boy’s statements and superimpose them upon a 17-year-old. And my eyes grow wide at that thought. Liam’s preschool teacher six years ago called him “spicy.” That still applies, plus he has a very funny, twisted command of his vocabulary. In particular, I love his “rainbow auras.” Translation: sunsets.

Back to my hair. It’s about the length of Steven Tyler’s from Aerosmith. And with it bouncing around, I start singing the chorus from “Sweet Child of Mine.” I fall into that lyric after a dose of the spice. I screech it like Tyler but discover that morning that it’s actually a Guns’n’Roses song. This kid has no ballad associated with him. It’s all “Oh, oh, oh, oh sweet child of mine…” screaming and racing up the staff then losing intensity and dropping back down with another “Oh, oh, oh, oh sweet child of mine…” And in my rendition, “nah-nah-nah” makes up all other words in the song.

That morning, I stepped away from my standards – away from country, away from Sinatra – one of Will’s favorite artists, away from the female swooner Adele. I fill up the feed with hard rock. The dishes get done to screeches, confident guitar licks, and songs for which I only know the choruses. I could be singing lyrics about any number of socially unacceptable events, but they are turned innocent with my “nah-nah-nahs.”

I’m letting it all loose dancing around my kitchen when I realize where I am in the year. November 1st. Life in October held an incredible, bursting intensity with good friends visiting from Paris and England, Will’s 13th birthday, our 24th wedding anniversary, a big kick-off event for scouts, yet another 50th birthday celebration for me with gymnastics moms, a weekend away with my quilting friend, and a decked out Halloween. October. I rode it like a roller-coaster, knowing it had a wild start and would come to a calm end. And although I’m a day late, I realize this is a very personal annual celebration for me.

In the shower seven years ago, I washed away stubs of hair from my buzz-cut head. And the intensity of life every October since then reminds me how lucky I am. And every year, I dance… with wildly happy hair.

P.S. Some days, like today, a beautiful liquid muse is most effective.

Do you remember "Dancing on Halloween Morn?"