As the heat of summer turns gently into fall, the deep green of growing leaves take on a tinge of scarlet.
The rain drops mix with my tears as I remember how I loved these days. The birth of four sons during these months, the joy of life, growing so quickly as if every plant and creature knows that the time is coming for a long winter’s nap.
Now, I walk alone, the evil senseless nature of “life” having stolen one of my sons and the natural progression of time having me look up at my youngest son, six feet tall already and only fifteen.
I walk on. Some turkeys, who have become like pets, follow me along, knowing that I will feed them sunflower seeds. As they gobble and nod their heads, I think of how wild creatures survive and how hard I worked to feed 19 people for lunch today. I think of my six kids and how quickly time has passed. Now six grand kids are noisily ‘destroying’ my house.
I stop to listen to my son and his friend tell about the bears they saw eating garbage up the road as the gentle raindrops cool my arms and cheeks. Up in the forest, I hear the crashing of branches and the crunch of leaves and I imagine that the bears are on the way down the mountain. I don’t hang around to find out.
Summer is life, sweat, heat, the dreams of growing and hope of change. Autumn brings a chance to slow down, remember, smile and cry as well. Autumn always makes me reflect upon the past, some of it brings a smile, like the look of psychedelic leaves in the pasture as they shiver in the sun. Other times bring back the endless nightmare of watching my beautiful healthy son collapse on a ball field, never to come home.
Suddenly, I remember 5th grade, a year filled with joys and sorrows, but sweetened by a school teacher who was one of the most amazing people I ever met. She taught me to love art, to believe in myself, to learn poetry that I have taught my children and grandchildren, and still remember today. Every year, on this day, I think of one of her poems, this one written by Edwina Fallis many years ago. The words float through my mind. It is called, simply, “September”.
A road like brown ribbon,
a sky that is blue,
a forest of green,
with that sky peeping through.
Asters, deep purple,
a grasshoppers call.
Today, it is summer,
Tomorrow, is fall.
I think how baseball took my son, his black obsidian stone shining from a hill side where it should not be for many, many years. I think of having to endure the brushes with my own death that loosing him caused, and how brave I have to be to let my younger son even go to a ball game.
Life and death, the mystery of which we will never know. Home. I hear the screen door as it creeks shut and I step back into the world that I often wish I didn’t have to live in. There are tiny smiles and tears living within my broken heart. There is joy and pain, the lovely simplicity with which nature creates miracles. There is the unspeakable grief that can turn a life into a nightmare.
Today, it is summer, tomorrow, it’s fall and then what? These are things we will never know, not even in our dreams.