Escape Velocity

Photo by Kevin Carter
Photo by Kevin Carter

The grass is impossibly green here. The thick, well-tended lawn in the communal courtyard between rows of townhouses is a sharper, bolder shade of green than I imagined existed. When the long summer abruptly ended and a brief colorful Fall arrived, leaves from trees arranged neatly around the courtyard floated down. The pretty bright, yellow leaves and the burnt, orange leaves scattered all about the red brick walkways. That wouldn’t do, of course. A team of six workers with leaf blowers arrived to tidy them up, bearing standard handheld leaf blowers resembling the particle guns used to trap ghosts in the movie Ghostbuster. Except for one worker who had something like a leaf cannon trailing along behind him. He deployed it in a strategic spot in one corner of the courtyard where it churned up a swirling cloud of colorful leaves in its blast, effective artillery against the Fall.

Sometimes the large townhouse with its view of a perfectly tended communal lawn scrubbed clean of Fall leaves felt like it had its own ecosystem with an incredible gravity equal to perhaps three times earth’s natural gravity. So, I pushed myself up from the couch one day. It was a bright Sunday morning when I first achieved escape velocity from the living room sofa. That couch had been trying to lull me to sleep. To keep me in a semi-comatose state for an entire day watching football. The deplorable Washington football team was on television as always. I’d left the deplorable Jets behind in New York City and somehow traded down for an equally deplorable Washington team with a most probably racist nickname. Almost definitely racist. About 99.87 percent racist. In any event, I was up from the couch.

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Escape Velocity