The Night of Smoke and Crushed Violets

A long, damp and bone-chilling cold has set in. All morning long I was swathed like a mummy sitting here at my desk unable to move. Oh this house this house this house, why is it so cold! I am always freezing now from October through June.

Autumn suddenly so cold and grey, draining all life from me. Listless. The leaves all brown and scattered, crumbling already into dust it seems…

Those birds just yesterday were splashing in the bird bath as though it was June, as though the sun was out and the roses spilling all over the trellis and up and over through the green trees.

I forced myself out finally, yesterday. Trying on hats for an hour, all of them either too small or too big. My head seems to be shrinking one day and then swelling the next. Nothing fit nothing felt good and warm. Got dressed and still unable to move but finally out the door. I was shocked that it was not very cold– actually the front of the house still had some sun. Just a few breaths of cool air and I found myself walking at a brisk pace now. I looked around saw piles of leaves two feet high along the curbs, saw the prairie flowers and grasses moving in the wind in the park across the street. The sky clouding over with streaks of grey and taupe and black, passed a tree with one single ruby leaf.

Further along I passed a yellow brick house, one I love dearly, elevated a bit from the street. Small and graceful with a front yard of vines and groundcover, not a blade of grass in sight. In front was a medium sized delicate maple, still full of leaves! The darkest reddest leaves of any maple I ever saw. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. Deep dark rich color like roasted beets.

To the bank and to the store and to the bus and walking suddenly felt good the world felt good. Ah, autumn, what seemed like death is really brisk and cool and even the smallest leaf can bring you joy. Decided to walk back from store a trip of maybe two miles.

Everyone at home in front of their fires sipping their after work cocktails. I smelled the wood smoke all over the village, slightly acrid but also rich and smoky like Laphroig scotch, and then the smell of apple and cherry the tiny wrinkled apples left on the orchard floors, the sour cherries in grandmother’s basement. Then some flower, something dark and dusky and small like violets, as though I was in a forest crushing violets underneath my feet. Ah the smell all the way home, and the swirling clouds overhead and the sun suddenly turning into sherbet and so far away sinking suddenly as though into the depths of the Grand Canyon.

I walk and walk all over this village and today so glad to have my two feet and my eyes. But today more than ever my sense of smell, to smell these flowers and slow burning fires all over the world now. As though someone was following me home, some old monk scattering ashes and sprinkling dust in front of me, fragrant dust the dust of a thousand souls, like incense at church at Easter the incense my mother smelled, her little voice crying out silently to the priest. More! More! More! Wanting to drown in the ancient perfumes of that tiny Carpathian village.

Still I walked and walked, almost not wanting to come home, ever. I passed the street with the Gingko, the massive smelly one with its fruits like apricots filling the sidewalk, and I crushed them with both feet feeling them pop, the slop and the smell filling my nostrils with death smells, vomit smells, but still I love those trees reminding us of this throbbing, violent, desperate life, and all the vomit and blood and screech and stink of it.

I made it home just before dark enveloped everything. Grabbed the bottle of wine I bought and poured out a big glass, almost trembling with the sheer joy of it. This night. I walked out into my black garden and wandered there in the dark and now cold, sipping my wine that was filled with violets and smoke and dust and ashes and leaves and dirt and even the smells of Gingko vomit. This was my own wine my own vintage filled with each and every molecule of each and every thing I passed this night. I toasted the black sky and drank there in my silent garden thankful for everything.

About O

I live in a suburb of an American City. I write to try and understand myself and the world around me. I love nature, art, music, literature and beauty in all its forms. I love food. But then food is a whole other world.... I think the world has gone mad and many of us will soon go insane from living in this world. What I love almost more than anything is my garden. I love its trees its shrubs and its many flowers. I love the birds, their flying and singing and dancing movements in and out of the sky and garden. Their freedom. I could watch birds all day long. They always bring joy. I love to work in my garden. To get muddy and dirty, digging, weeding, mowing, pruning and deadheading. Then, I like to have a cool glass of white wine or red, or sometimes a Manhattan, and drink in hand, I walk around and look at the fruits of my labor. And that walk each and every day in my little paradise.. because that is what gardens are.... brings me almost complete joy... My blog is whennothingworks because for a long time nothing has worked. Friends, family, jobs, money, houses, careers, lovers, things--- it all just doesn't work sometimes, or most of the time. The garden always works. Nature and its beauty always work. And, in my garden, I can sit quietly and think, or just breathe, and somehow manage to survive the world.
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3 Responses to The Night of Smoke and Crushed Violets

  1. Danilo says:

    LOVE! Love everything and it’s brilliant! The colors also resonate — like roasted beets!


  2. O says:


    I am a novice blogger, not sure even how to reply to you,I may be sending you a duplicate. I went to My blog format is one I chose from their site. You just go to their site and they walk you through it. They also have tutorials on how to blog etc. Thanks again, and Happy New Year!


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