October is here. Once again, we find ourselves in the season of Autumn, a bit like a train which pulls into a particular station only annually. Had it not been that the passings in my family have always occurred in Autumn, with Daniel's being no exception, I think Autumn would be my favorite season. The trees shed leaves in brilliant colors. Here, the days turn from the blistering heat here so often seen in Summer, and then the humans return to the outdoors. Once again we are clad in longer pants, thicker dresses and jackets. Autumn reminds me of returning to school, starting new projects, a beginning of sorts. I generally receive a burst of energy when Fall comes, no doubt designed to help me rake leaves, plan new projects, begin a new school year as either a student or as an instructor, and prepare for Winter. In a rural community, Autumn is less about fashion as it might be in an urban center, and more about the changing of the Earth and the adaptations we must make in order to survive both financially, and with our animals intact through the Winter. Winters in my region can be mild, but they can also be severe some years. Sometimes we see feet of snow and ice storms which make animal care and travel impossible, especially in the more mountainous regions of our state. I do recall some years when the Winter was more like a mild autumn, without a single snow, and with light autumn-like rains.
Late this Autumn, both Daniel and my Dad will have been gone from Earth for five years. Some days this feels like a very long time ago, and others, the hurt and seeming bomb blast to our lives seems very recent and very fresh. I think this may always be true.
This year, it feels as if we will have a severe Winter. We have higher numbers of squirrels than normal, and they are frantically storing acorns and stealing suet and seed from our bird feeders. Many of our trees decided to turn in early. The Gingko Bilobas yellowed early. Some of our trees turned red at least a month early. Birds seem to understand the sense of urgency also. Our large contingent of hummingbirds left for Central America a little early this year, Other birds seem to be taking Autumn seriously. The young cardinal group which was raised late this Summer has been working so hard to get suet, that they have it all over their young beaks ! All the signs for a bad Winter are there. Soon, this will have implications for us as well, and we will need to ready vehicles and do some other things which better prepare the human beings for cold, snow and ice, and perhaps difficulties travelling.
Perhaps I can reach the days in which my Dad and then Daniel departed for Heaven this year, simply knowing that they are safe, happy and enjoying all that is there. Unfortunately, in four years I have not been able to reach a point where I don't see what I have lost, by their no longer being on this plane with me.
We only receive so many Autumns in this life. This year, try to appreciate the Fall colors, if you have them where you are. Try to appreciate the majesty and miracle of all of the living things knowing each year how to prepare to survive the Winters of their lives. I think there is a lesson in there for us too.