8/30/2011

i'm not ready for some football

A few weeks ago the light changed. Early, it seemed to me. And while I normally welcome my favorite season with open arms and John Denver "carols," this year, not so much.

I've not yet had my fill of bbqs and sprinklers and ice cream off a truck. And yet, without so much as a "by your leave," the light changes, the agapanthes wither, and the crepe myrtles fade. We ride our bikes through early fallen leaves and watch more flutter to the street. And though the days still get hot, more and more the cool mornings and evenings bring to mind sweaters and school supplies.

Many people dislike Autumn, associating it with death and dying. The arrival of cold, grey weather, and having to run errands in the rain. I've never felt that way. To me, Autumn meant harvest and abundance. A season to pick apples, bake cookies, carve pumpkins, and pop up giant bowls of popcorn for movie nights and game nights and cozy-up-with-a-good-book nights. The glorious colors (amber, crimson, goldenrod) and flavors (cinnamon, caramel, rosemary, sage) of fall always fill me with an appreciation of Life.

But this year, I can understand a little why some folks don't care for the season. My heart isn't quite ready to let go of summer. And yet it must. The light has changed, and the next season of life is upon me, whether I am ready for it or not.

This is true for me in lots of ways. In this past year I got married, left my career, turned 40, and became a bicycle commuter (sold my car). Oy! Holy season changes, Batman. Things are shifting for me emotionally, spiritually, relationally - pretty much in all the "allys".

Its all good. I'm just in the midst of the transition and everything is awkward and unfinished. My heart's feeling a bit pummeled and tired and not at rested up to tackle a new "school year." It needs a few more months of floating around the swimming pool, listening to 80's rock.

But I can't. It's time to buy my Trapper Keeper and protractor and new shoes. It's time for class schedules and syllabi. I can listen to 80's rock, but only while I'm doing my homework.

So. This weekend I will raise a glass to summer, and embrace the changing season.

8/26/2011

zinnias, crickets, clean laundry, and kisses

This week's Fake Friday Fave Five.

1 The sight of - Bright (pink! magenta! red! orange! yellow!) zinnias in the morning sun, a gift from my Sweetie to make me smile on a hard day... Or, the neighbors white Christmas lights twinkling away on an ordinary Tuesday. All is calm. All is bright...

2 The sound of - The kids next door clomping out the door, across the porch, and down the steps to engage in pre-school combat before clambering into the rumbly old SUV that will haul them off for the day... Or, the evening crickets singing a lament to summer's end on a night when we decide to, "sit in comfy corner with the door open and listen to the bugs."

3 The smell of - Piles of clean laundry, fresh from the dryer, the fragrance of a sleepy Sunday morning... Or, the last bit of dark roast coffee in the package that wafts up each morning when I reach for the tea tin. We're saving it til the weekend, so it takes on the added essence of Anticipation.

4 The taste of - Second-day hot italian sausage soup with onion, bell pepper, tomatoes, broccoli, carrot, celery, black beans and spices, eaten with whole wheat bread slathered with way too much butter... Or, melted havarti with dill on whole wheat bread. Or, fried eggs with rosemary.

5 The touch of - My husbands baby kisses on the side of my neck as I wash dishes, and the warmth of his breath as he whispers, "Thank you for everything you do around here. It doesn't go unnoticed."... Or, his arms around me as he tells me, "I am so excited that I get to be with you when you get to live your dreams."

A full week.

8/17/2011

treasures from dark places

The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the head, then the full grain in the head...

Truly, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

There is always grief in death. The letting go hurts.

But, it is said that "we do not grieve as those who have no hope."

No.

The seed falls down into the ground. Hidden. Out of our hands. And we wait. We wait and see. And we know not how, but we trust that something mysterious and wonderful is happening down there in the dark.

We grieve, but we have hope that someday life will come from this death. That after all the plowing and furrowing and breaking up of soil and sweating and weeping and falling and dying, there will be life.

And it will be awesome. "Immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine."

Yes. That's it.

8/16/2011

tuesdaybook: sun-baked pine needles

For today I am

Seeing... The change in the light (Autumn's coming!) as it filters through leaves onto the grass I'm always forgetting to water and the folding chair ruins of a lovely Friday evening with loved ones. The Giant Blue Tarp, two table cloths, and a raft in desperate need of rinsing off sit in the fading light of summer.

Wearing... Linen-like cargo pants, a pink, ribbed tank top, brown Old Navy flip flops from two summers ago, summer bracelet MM got me on our anniversary trip, and my Boyfriend Bracelet. (A simple bracelet with letter beads with MM's name. Made several for different friends and family, and my sister in law calls hers her "boyfriend bracelet." Cute. I like it.)

Tasting... Cold coffee. I've been without coffee in this house for too long. On Sunday, before MM went off to class, I zipped to the store and returned with some Major Dickenson's. The last few mornings, I've interspersed bites of oatmeal (homemade with coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon, and dried cranberries) with swallows of dark, fabulous coffee. Amen and amen.

Planning... No plans these days. Just letting life unfold.

Working... Lots of house work and projects. Cleaning. Sorting. Archiving. Mending. Oh, and job-hunting. Sabbatical is over, kids.

Creating... Nothing, per se.

Learning... Nothing, per se.

Reading... MM and I are working through the Anne books and are almost done with Snow Crash in our fun Read-aloud Cultural Exchange. I'm still reading Salt.

Pondering... Still this: Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

Remembering... Well, not this very moment, but several times over the last few days I've caught the scent of sun-baked pine needles. Each time a wave of summertime memories washes over me. A hundred camping trips with family, friends, youth groups. Day-long hikes, plunging into the woods and streams and alpine lakes that brought a glimpse of goodness into weary, battered souls. Riding ATVs up steep switchbacks through Greece and feeling like I'm home. Oh! That scent makes my heart swell and ache with memory and longing. I would gather a bowl of them form my desk, but I'm afraid I'd just sit there and daydream of campfires and the feel of a cold, mountain creek on blistered heels.

Thankful for... My girlfriends. More times and ways than I can count, their love and friendship has saved me.

8/12/2011

falling

Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. ~ Jesus of Nazareth

Still sorting it all out, but yes. This. I think so.