I suppose I have you to thank for all of this. You seem to be entwined in everything I think and feel -- even now. The thing is, I can't remember ever feeling this before. Has an October ever been as breathtakingly beautiful? Have the geese been as wildly joyful? Has the afternoon sun ever been as crunchy, the majestic old ash ever looked as juicily sweet? Most of my memories of autumns past are of you, and I can't remember them being as arrestingly lovely.

I thank you, of course, because before you I wasn't able to delight in my own company. I could only linger on in appreciation which would have been true happiness were there only one with whom I could share it. Had you never come into my life, I would still be lingering, nay, malingering in the same detached manner. Of course, I couldn't appreciate the sweetness of solitude before I had chanced to revel in the rapture of togetherness. It is only after knowing the mystery of love that I can begin to understand the secrets of the cosmos. And how would I know the silky softness of the October night against my cheek had I never felt your tender touch? How would I have recognized before the savory touch of the gray raindrops on my eyelids when I had not yet known the luscious brush of your lips against my lashes? How could I feel the fiery passion of the leaves before I had experienced the impetuous passion of infatuation?

Was ever a world so beautiful as mine? It is the solemnity of solitude; the sanctity of seclusion that makes the gray washed sky and the moon reflected in the rain mirror streets all mine, and all the more magical. It is my newfound love of aloneness which makes the grayness so freeing, so liberating and comforting and inviting. My delightful discovery of myself which calls me out into the autumn to live and live and live.

And it is for all this, my cherished one, my lost one, that I thank you.

21 October 1996