My friend Selena sent me this picture. My new friend, Selena, whom I keep running into. Our surprise encounters are precisely timed, at church, at the pool, walking on the local path. Today, at the carousel downtown.

Selena snapped this picture of me and when I saw it, my chest sank.

This photo captures perfectly the metaphor of this season.

Because there I stand, firm, while the rest of the horses and smiles and oompa music whirs around me.  I am incongruous, not even supporting my baby on the pony bobbing up and down. She is dressed in her Halloween costume because I woke up thinking today was Halloween. And then I hauled her and her brother all over town wondering why no one else was in costume. I am smiling, waving like a homecoming queen, on a carousel, merry horses bobbing up and down around me, their heads arched forward, but never advancing further another inch.  I stand, I smile, I wave.

The flip am I doing?

What do I do each day?  Bounce around a room, point, yell, draw circles around words that form ledes that form ideas that form furrowed brows in the eyes of my audience.  Sit in my office, point, click, circle, sigh. Drive, arrive, pick up, put down, the horses and Matchbox cars and trains rumble around me. I stand firm, I wave, I smile.

I don't know what I am doing here, in the conserva-patch of this orbiting globe, in this season where I don't know if it is November yet and does it matter since I'm still sweating, in this body where I play grammar guru and puppeteer and kitchen witch and lover all in one day.

But I know I am supposed to be here.  The eyelashes on my eyes, hiding behind sunglasses, are all numbered.  Each and every encounter with each and every person here on the carousel is precisely known.  I will stand firm while the ponies bob and spin. I will smile and wave, and wonder who let me out of the house with those socks.



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