Columbus, Ohio USA
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The Country of Common Belief
By Tom Thomson
November/December 2012 Issue

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All of nature seems aware that this is a time of momentous change, that with each falling leaf the rigors of winter are closer at hand. Ants, heeding instincts from the ancient cellars of time, carefully carry aphid eggs into their underground chambers where they will tend them until the coming of spring.

Near the old bridge on Starner Road, shimmering bass, darters, and chubs seek out the deeper pools of the creek, where they hover mysteriously in the dark waters, waiting for their world to be encased in a heaven of ice.

It is a time, too, of expectatation, of pause, sometimes on hazy mornings the entire world seems to be holding its breath, waiting, reluctant to forego its lease on the good times.

Events that transpired early in the year fade, turn into moonlit dreams of semi- reality, fragment themselves, become shadows without dimension.

The bright leaf falls, but for many life-forms there is hope of resurrection. In nature, it is always so.

Just to view the turning of the leaves is an experience that surmounts what Loren Eiseley calls “the country of common belief.” I am humbled by the magnitude of the spectacle, and my first inclination is to grieve, to wear an armband of black crepe.

If the springtime was like visiting a nursery, then this must be like a respectful visit to a funeral home to pay last respects. But why are all the other guests so cheerful? A chipmunk sticks something in his mouth, then chatters and laughs at me before scurrying behind a crumbling fence of old field stones. A sassy titmouse dines on a spider, then takes time to jeer at my sadness. I change my attitude and move freely about, conversing with those present, remarking how life-like the deceased looks and what a good and full life he led. I join my friends, sharing in the wonder before me.

© 2012 Short North Gazette, Columbus, Ohio. All rights reserved.

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