Luisa was in Botswana and the kids were in school so the house was particularly quiet. Still, I couldn't seem to write. I sat at my desk staring at the computer screen and YouTube whispered to me, "You should watch videos from the opening credits of 70s sitcoms!" and tumblr shout whispered, "You should learn to make GIFs!" and Google said, "Remember Man from Atlantis? Is Patrick Duffy still alive?" But, I decided to do something different--I resisted. Instead, I went for a walk.
Fall has been spectacular this year and, that day, the sun was bright and warm and I didn't even need a jacket. When I crossed the street into the park, I was so overwhelmed by the blue sky and the colors of the leaves that I actually exhaled an "Oh my god..." as I stood looking down towards the lake. I walked down the sidewalk and was surrounded by color but I was drawn to a particular tree, one that hadn't completely turned and was a mix of orange and yellow and green.
It reminded me of a snow cone and it took me back to the summer I was eight, to our white house in the suburbs, to hot summer days and visits from the ice cream truck. I would hear the bell and run into the house begging my mother for change and then run back out and stand on the curb waiting patiently for my turn. I got a snow cone every time. I would then sit on our stoop, unwrap it and wait until it softened because they were always frozen solid. As a grown up now, I suspect that they were rock hard because they were freezer burned because I was likely the only kid who bought them. Back then, however, waiting for it to melt was just part of the process and I think I might have had more patience as a kid than I do now. I would sit and stare at the brightly covered ice and listen to the cicadas until I felt it was melted enough to start gnawing on it. And when it was almost gone, I would tip the cone up and drink the rest of the colored liquid and my face and hands would be stained a mix of all the colors.
Yesterday, I walked past the tree again with Luisa and the kids but the colors are now dull and many of the leaves have fallen to the ground but I will probably always think of it as the snow cone tree. A tree in Minnesota in the fall took me back nearly 40 years to a Kansas City summer. Simple memories are powerful.