The seasons come and go, as we turn round and round on this beautiful planet of ours. Lots of things come and go and I’m thoughtful today of both the weight and the lightness of change.
I may have been quiet on my blog this summer, but summer was not a quiet season. The very reason that I decided to take a break from blogging was because I wanted to be deliberate with the time I was spending with the 4 year olds. Not to mention, it takes a ridiculous amount of mental and physical energy to be with them for 12 waking hours a day and I knew I wasn’t going to have much left over for anything else.
Our summer season was filled with trips to the beach, adventures to museums, lots of mucking about in the backyard with sand and water, and plenty of time snuggled up on the couch reading our first chapter books together.
It was a bright, sunlight-filled season.
Traipsing around the mountains of Utah.
There were definitely days when I longed for a little peace and quiet. And there were definitely days when I longed for something a little higher than the banter of 4-year old boys. But I’m happy and satisfied with how our summer season played out.
And now the seasons are changing.
The boys are back in preschool three mornings a week. (Hallelujah!) The air is crisper and colder in the mornings. The evenings are darker, sooner. And the liquid amber trees on our hillside are all ablaze in their autumn colors.
And the shift is bringing me the happy-sad I always feel when the seasons change.
Maybe that’s one of the reasons that I like to do my personal retreat at the spring and autumn equinoxes. It’s the perfect time to reflect and plan. My latest retreat was no exception.
I spent two delightful days in a lovely guest suite on a property just south of Guerneville. I just can’t get enough of the Russian River. I reflected on our spring and summer. I planned for our autumn and winter.
I considered myself. How I was doing. What I have been accomplishing. What I still want to accomplish.
I ate my favorite healthy foods. I did yoga. I went kayaking. I took hot baths.
It was marvelous!
And it’s a good thing that I got myself good and grounded that weekend, because it seems like autumn has already brought a torrent of change.
Particularly, and understandably, in our garden.
The first rain of the season (the first rain in six months, quite frankly) found us standing in the front yard the morning after, mourning a third of our crabapple tree which had cracked off in the weight of the rain and the wind.
I’m pretty sure that tree was planted in 1962, the year our home was built. It had seen a lot. And it had certainly seen some rough days. It had cracks and scars and cement-filled repairs that made us wonder, when we first saw it, how long it was going to hold out.
Now we knew.
It’s very noisy this morning as I type. There is a tree service in my front yard giving our crabapple its final adventure. But they are saving part of the trunk that we will keep in the yard as part of our landscaping. Perhaps with a jolly bright annual in a cheery pot on top. And they are saving a log from one of the main arms that I will take to my dad next week and have him carve little animals out of it for the boys. It’s our very own giving tree.
But the front yard is so bare. It’s a shock to my system to look out the front window and see… the other side of the street. No emerald leaves and bright red berries. No lichen covered bark and whistling birds. Empty.
Change. The dying of the old. The end of one existence. The turning of the season. I find this settling heavily on my heart.
When I found out that our crabapple was near the end, I immediately began researching a new tree to fill its vacancy. I had narrowed it down to three varieties. And then a trip to our local nursery found me standing face to trunk with a beautiful crepe myrtle, (or Lagerstroemia, isn’t that beautiful?) It was just grown enough to be strong and just young enough to be supple. And it had the most beautiful lavender purple blossoms on it. I thought purple blossoms in front of our yellow house would look just lovely.
I knew it was ours. And so I bought it. And the nice man at the nursery somehow managed to help me get it into our minivan!
So, while our yard is bereft of its crabapple, it will be blessed with a crepe myrtle.
Change. Seasons. As one exits, another enters.
And the heavy heart in my chest is lightened by the bright possibilities of new growth. In our yard. In our home. In my soul.
As difficult and scary as change can be, what a blessing it is too! It gives me a space to pause. To feel gratitude for what was, or relief for what is now over. (Is my dear crabapple feeling relief? It’s quite possible.) And then to feel hope, anticipation, excitement, trepidation, or whatever, for what is yet to come.
In this interesting season of change for me, I will just hug Myrtle’s trunk (yes, that’s her name and yes, I’m a tree-hugger) and we will see what grows next.