My five-year old came home with dirt on his nose – one long dark swipe down the side, like he’d spent his afternoon up a chimney. His dad had taken him to the park with his twin brother and sister. Early October afternoons look a lot like summer ones here, hot and muggy with the whine of insects, but the fact that you know cold weather is coming propels you out the door. It puts a firm hand to your lower back and shoves.
Fall isn’t easy for a kid like my son who’s in a wheelchair 90 percent of the time. The colder wind ushers in a trapped feeling when we can’t go outside as much as we’d like. He can’t run to get his blood pumping on those walks we take. I march, briskly, like a governess with my charge, rolling him along. He loves it though, pointing to people and rocks and orange construction cones placed at random on the park path. Soon enough, we will move our walks to the mall and I will join the little old ladies in their too-white Aerosoles and elastic waist khakis. I love them with their balled-up Kleenex and arms pumping, and they love my son. He waves at them and they melt, visibly, wobbling and veering from their path. We will walk our laps together. It’s not a bad way to spend winter, if I can keep myself from homing in on the Auntie Anne’s kiosk.