Old radio boxes

by Steve

Image from page 2235 of "Illinois Agricultural Association record [microform]" (1923)

I’m ready for the autumn.

Rainy days in late fall are convenient days to remodel old garments or dye them, before storing for the winter.

I’m ready for the crisp cold light of the morning. The comfort of grey-skied afternoons. I’m ready for the loitering twilight, the nights drawing in. The faded hues gently lit. Dappled. Tracing shadows. The dark, early. Wrapping up warm outside, then inside. Cocooning.

Cocooning, not hibernating. Autumn as a time of change. There is something in the light that lends itself to contemplation. Working out what I want to do. Work out who I want to be. To use those rainy days and dark nights for plotting, planning, preparing.

Remodel. Rework. Restore.

Those old garments made new. Nothing ever entirely new. Nothing just old. We’re some sort of sum of what has gone before, the constituent parts we can stitch together into something else for where we’re headed next. Something recognisable, but more than that too.

Old radio boxes make excellent storing chests if regular moth-proof chests are not on hand.

I once dreaded autumn. Back to school. The end of long, lazy summers. Now I’m glad to have summer nearly behind me. The new school year holds a lot more promise when you don’t have to go to school. You can create your own school. This feels a better time for resolutions than January. The sun setting earlier. A packing up of the past, an organising of the future.

Taking stock now. Remembering those summer days. Marking them. Not about moving on, not about clearing out. More about ordering and storing in an appropriate way. The best we can.

An old radio box. Something that once spoke to us, gave us dispatches from the world. Now something interior and personal. We no longer receive the broadcasts. We peek inside for reminders of the time when we did receive those broadcasts.

“Broadcast” was originally a farming term. The sowing of seeds. Broadcast was the start, not the end. Still the case now. The old radio box told us and still tells us, even if the signal has been lost.

…taking the machines apart, cleaning them and putting them back together again.

The signal hasn’t always gone. The curious ceremony of dismantling and reassembling. We neglect by keeping things together. We repair by taking things apart. Sometimes the signal returns, if you are careful.

Chewing gum stuck to a garment may be removed easily by a touch of ice. 

Old remedies aren’t always bad remedies. Follow the patterns past. Some kind of faith in the old tales, the old advice, the old sayings. Some kind of faith as sometimes that is all you can cling on to. The answers aren’t there, but that doesn’t stop us looking.

The movements of autumn may offer us clues. Or just another form of faith.

There is something in the fall of the leaves. In the clearing of gardens. But also in the planting of bulbs. Autumn may feel like a time of departure, but within are the seeds of the return.

The cooling of the air, the drive from outdoors to in. That cocooning is for healing as well as changing. The coolness of the air fixes things. Stuck. Removed easily. We hope. We think we hope. We’ll see. A touch of ice.

How safe is your home.

We return from our excursions, our adventures, our trails and trials. The house comes back into its own. Our home should be a refuge. This is our retreat now, not the beaches or fields we walked all summer. Look at our books and our screens not the skies. Maybe the skies, but through our windows, warm and safe.

But our home may be anywhere, not just the building where we sleep. Our home is wherever we can remodel our old garments and take apart our machines.

We need a safe home. Make our home safe.

The camera is so constructed that it takes the silhouette of a person instead of the actual features. The homemaker merely poses before a sheet with a strong light behind it. Soon she has a doll-like cut-out of her own silhouette taken by the simple camera.

That harsh light of the summer burns an imprint of us, but obliterates all the detail. No clearer as to who we are. All we can do is fill in the silhouette best we can, and know that just as summer passes, that silhouette, even if we can make anything out from it, is just a snapshot of who we were then.

The silhouette. Instead of the actual features. A template for any occasion. For any audience. For any mood.

We fill the silhouette in all manner of ways, but sometimes we need that strong light to start over again.

Sometimes we can’t face filling the silhouette. Sometimes it feels like that is all we are.

Autumn shows us the renewal starts with the leaves falling. A doll-like cut-out. A sparse tree. Winter on its way. As is spring.

This is where we start. Not where we end.


Image (and italicised quotations) from Internet Archive Book Images, via Flickr