I’ve been staring at a blank page for about an hour trying to drum up a sharp, quick-witted idea to write about. Unfortunately, creativity is sometimes a surreptitious process, and today, it evades me entirely. I’m in the throes of a stubborn case of writer’s block. It’s a vexing and unwanted condition that’s best remedied by watching Seinfeld reruns, rereading old issues of The Walrus, engaging in staring competitions with my dog, Levi, and partaking in other effective forms of procrastination. Times like this are a humbling reminder that compelling ideas aren’t drawn from a bottomless well of innovation that I have unreserved access to. Sometimes ideas are more elusive. Sometimes they are tucked away, out of sight, forcing me to seek them out. It can be an exhausting—at times even defeating—routine.
I’ve always been an outspoken autumn enthusiast. My affinity for thick knit sweaters and decorative gourd centrepieces cannot be overstated enough. A passion that often has me wrestling another woolly top into my already crowded closet and decorating my countertops in miniature squashes. Though I’ve never jumped on the Pumpkin Spice Latte bandwagon (a beverage enjoyed by what seems like a seasonal cult), anything else fall-related I tend to embrace. This is to the disdain of my more summer-oriented friends who curse the arrival of fall and yearn for the sun-kissed days of July. My love of fall is vested in the season’s charming hallmarks: the way oak, elm, and crab apple trees—those magical changelings—transition across a spectrum of color, cloaking my neighborhood in autumnal hues of gold and bronze. Or how my favorite, the towering maples, shed their leaves until the sidewalks resemble a crimson carpet. The invigorating crispness of the morning air that spurs me to wrap myself in a thick scarf during my morning walk to work. Or the way I don’t have to apply SPF 100 to my sun-sensitive skin each time I venture outdoors.
Months later, I drove to the scene of the accident—the place where he died. I pulled onto the highway’s shoulder and stood for a long while, examining the lines, only slightly faded, that veered sharply to one side before disappearing into the ditch. I studied their appearance, trying to interpret some meaning, hoping they might hold answers still. Vehicles sped by, some slowing, others honking, no doubt with irritation and surprise at the strange woman standing at the roadside, staring fixedly into the center lane. But the marks revealed little else apart from the glaringly obvious—a loss of control. In the end, I wondered whether the details really mattered, when knowing them or not, the outcome remained the same.