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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

To Everything a Season

The evenings are cool and crisp, as are these October mornings but the days warm to pleasant sweatshirt weather or perhaps just a light shirt. As I walk the two blocks to Rick's, or longer as I head to the ditch, I find myself making more noise as my feet turn up the first of the fallen leaves, dried, curling up at the edges, waiting to be swept away by those doing their best to tend the lawn and sidewalks before things get completely out of hand.


I can hardly keep the bird feeders full. Whether they are stocking up for winter or simply bulking up to keep themselves warm on the cool evenings, I do not know. I know only that they are ever-present, always lending cheerful chirping and intriguing Lizzie.



I have discovered recently that she'll take her birds any way she can get them, including on the computer screen. A few youtube bird videos have her entranced, often stepping onto the keyboard to get a closer look -- or sniff. I have to smile when she does this, her alert eyes, ears perked up to the sound, the tilt of the head. She lives her life for the very moment.

I wonder if she processes that these are unattainable things, yet  things in which she can become involved, appreciate, even become entranced. After all, we humans can do that and we do it every day. When we were children we had fantasies of becoming a princess or movie star. For some those wishes came true. But I think we still have a fantasy or two now and then -- being the author who is doing the book signing for their best seller, the photographer who is heralded for remarkable work, the philanthropist whose gifts can help change the world. I'll watch "Dancing with the Stars" and see myself doing outrageously fabulous dancing in high heels and feathers with a live orchestra and my own private instructor. Well, that's not going to happen. Maybe that's my human version of the bird videos.


Although we're already into the second half of October, it feels more like the beginning. Perhaps that is because where I am, in Michigan's "middle of the mitten," the color is slow to come, only now beginning to show the flaming oranges, deep reds and golden ambers I associate with fall. As I look out my window this very moment, I see deep green leaves on all the trees. Soon the ginko will turn pale yellow, the locust a darker gold and that bank of trees dividing my yard from a neighbor's will fall to the ground, leaving the yard open, more exposed. I frame my camera carefully to catch the best color at the Ditch, but truth be told, the leaves on other side are still pretty green.


Is it possible that in a month or two or three I will be looking at a white world out there, layering on extra sweaters and wishing once again for spring to come? Oh yes, it is possible.

The past couple of weeks have been a little tough, a little gloomy. A friend died and it seemed like few besides Rick and I cared. I know that everyone grieves in their own way and I try to hold that in my heart, but it wasn't just the death but the last months of life that found us both feeling she was somewhat neglected by those who should most have cared.


Were we right? Who is to say? It know how hard to watch someone you love fail, I know the grieving begins long before the death. I know that it is easier for friends like us who are less involved emotionally to judge, try as we might not to do just that. Friends, who will miss the person but do not have the lifelong memory bank to draw upon memories good and bad. Granted, our friend was older, ill for a very long time and in pain. But she deserved better. As much as I would never say to anyone grieving "She is in a better place now," for once, that seems very true. I like to think of her as wrapped in love and peace.


This month has also been challenging as my lung illness has reared its ugly head again, wearing me down. I huddle in a quilt or fuzzy throw, then toss it off. Hot, cold, hot, cold. It's not menopause. That boat sailed a long time ago. It's just life. A part of my "normal" that I had completely forgotten about. I find myself longing to hunker down, be cozy. Drink tea. Savor a wonderful scone. Read books. Pet Lizzie.


But I know the holidays approach and with them, my busy season. An early deadline for our annual sale finds me needing to beef up inventory with no energy to do so. I did get my notecards ordered -- singles and sets of blank thank you note-sized cards from some of my favorite photos and paintings. Here are a few.

                       

I anticipate an array of upcoming events -- my first Southern Exposure workshop of the season, a fall fundraiser for our theatre. several lunches with friends, a trip to the Detroit area to see Kevin and Molly and go to the Detroit Symphony. Ah, there's the shiny spot. That trip would be fun no matter what. But Kevin and Molly are expecting their first child in February -- a little boy. Now that gives me something to anticipate in the all-too-long winter!


And the other shiny bit? The end of summer bounty of color. Oh, not just the leaves, but the flowers on their last hurrah, looking as bold and bright as possible, almost as though they are expecting competition from the trees and dressing accordingly. My neighbor's garden, so beautiful from first flower to first snow is ablaze with color and even the mums I bought at the market lend their own cheer to the gloomiest of days.

                        

It's a Sunday afternoon as I finish the first draft of this post. Rick will soon return from his bike hike, possibly the last of the season. It's been rainy all day and he'll appreciate loading up on carbs with the wonderful pasta I'll begin making shortly. The kitchen will be filled with the fragrances of garlic and oregano, caramelized onions and maybe something wonderful for dessert.


We walk a path in life, sometimes of our making, sometimes not. We round the corner at the ditch and hope to see Harry the Heron. But we may see Ella the Egret instead. If we're wise, we will pause and decide if it is a good thing (it is), a bad thing, or nothing at all and move forward accordingly. Catching our breath, holding tight to the things that we value most and looking for the best way find our own happy ending.


Three more weeks till election day. I can hardly wait.

26 comments:

Barb said...

Such a beautiful, heartfelt post today, Jeanie, with wonderful photos to illustrate. I'm so sorry to hear your lung problems are plaguing you again. Do you think it's the colder air? Let yourself rest awhile and feel better. The deadline can wait. Bob is whirring away on the exercise bike as I write this. Our outdoor biking season is at an end.

Valerie-Jael said...

Sorry you are not feeling so well, and hope you will soon be better. Thanks for sharing the lovely photos and impressions of nature in your part of the world, it all looks beautiful. My Kitty also loved to watch birds on the computer or TV, sometimes sitting right in front of the TV and getting very
excited....Thanks for all your nice comments on my blog, too. Take care of yourself, and have a good week, hugs, Valerie

Joanne Huffman said...

Fall is still my favorite season. I hope there's enough to enjoy when I get back. I hope you have a healthy fall and winter - there is never anything wrong with snuggling under a quilt and sipping tea while you read. I was loving your take on fall until you reminded me of the election.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

What a beautiful reflection! Autumn arriving, summer fading, the challenges of life and loss, letting go of old dreams, welcoming new. This resonates so much with those of us who are of a certain age. So great to read something so lovely, wistful and real as an antidote to the election campaign news!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

This is a beautiful reflection, Jeanie. I am sorry to hear that you lost a good friend. It's especially tough when you are unsettled about the end of her journey here on earth. It is hard to see a loved one in pain but when they are in so much pain, those are the times when we can say they are in a better place. Some people said that during my uncles funeral in August and that just tore my heart even more as he was so young and his death was so sudden, and we didn't feel it was his time. But sometimes people just don't find the right words to say, or say those words without thinking...

That is so exciting that you are going to be a grandma! It is a wonderful blessing to have new life enter your family, and how wonderful that they don't live too far away from you and Rick! The holidays and get togethers are going to be even more special and fun with a little one to admire and chase around.

My fall got off to a tough start with that nasty cold/cough and some sad news about the health of dear friends. But it's been brightened by the beauty of the season, time with Phil and good friends, taking a crocheting class (I'm working on a chevron patterned blanket with gray and mustard yellow yarn). Plus there is the anticipation of Julia Child night - which is this Saturday! It sneaks up on us more and more each year. We are taking another break from French cuisine and will make small plates from different regions of the world. My contribution will be ahi tuna poke, which will represent Hawaii. I think we will have close to 30 people there so it will be quite the event! I haven't seen my parents since July (how is this possible? Where did the time go?) so I am excited to see them and spend time with my extended family enjoying delicious food made with love and care.

This is such a long comment but I can't close without commenting on your gorgeous cards! I love the paintings of Lizzie and Gypsy! And that Eiffel Tower card is STUNNING!! I think I would need to frame that!

Oh and we get Oscar back tonight after her stay at "grandma's" while we were in Oregon. We miss her so much so I can't wait to have her curious face back in our house. We will have to play some bird vidoes for her - I think they'd be so entertaining for her!!

Mary Rose's said...

Personal note coming via the post, but in the meantime, hook Lizzie up with Super Hummingbirds from NATURE. (It's available from PBS online.)
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/super-hummingbirds-full-episode/14586/

Bella was entranced and on Twitter a number of people reported televisions being pushed off tables by cats intent on getting at those birds!

Love and hugs,Maryanne in SC

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

Beautiful pictures in this post. I'm sorry to hear you are feeling "under the weather". Hopefully this will pass soon. I've put videos of birds on for my cat, too. I guess I imagined he was smart enough to know they weren't real, but no, apparently he isn't. -Jenn

My name is Erika. said...

It sounds like your life has been full lately, although maybe not perfect nor even exciting. You sound as if you have that fall melancholy feeling that the seasons sometimes bring. I ope you feel better soon. I enjoyed your photos and those cards you had made were gorgeous. Take care and get a little rest so you feel better soon. Hugs-Erika

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I have a tv I leave on in my office so the cats have some noise. Bleubeard could care less, but I often find Squiggles watching whatever show is on. I suspect Lizzie, like Squiggles, is taken by the movement and the sounds.

It's sad when a person dies, but to die practically alone is even sadder. It's good that you and Rick were there to show your respect. After all, the funeral is for the living, not the dead.

I sincerely hope you have a better week and you get rid of whatever lung illness that has you in its grip.

Your cards are beautiful and so are the flowers that you have photographed.

The French Hutch said...

Dear Jeanie, So sorry to hear you have been under the weather andI hope as I'm writing this you are feeling better. Such a beautiful time of year there to enjoy your walks. I love crisp cool morning walks hearing the crunch of fallen leaves. Autumn is my favorite season, if it ever gets here. Still 85-90 degrees and I doubt we'll have much color this year with this terrible drought! You witnessed a sad part of life with the passing of your friend. It is hard to believe how this can happen, but it does. Your note cards are lovely, especially with Lizzy. Your dinner sounds delish and I'm sure Rick smiled knowing he has dinner waiting after the long bike ride. Take care Jeanie, you have a busy schedule ahead of you, a wonderful life!
Hugs...........

Victoria Zigler said...

It's amazing what can keep us - animals and humans alike - entertained. Anyway, there's nothing wrong with dreaming, even when you know those dreams can never come true.

Sorry to hear you're not feeling your best. I know what you mean about needing to do things while feeling like your energy has been sapped, and wanting to do nothing more but curl up in a blanket and do something quiet and peaceful that doesn't require much effort. I hope the fun activities you have planned, and the colours of the season help you to keep your spirits up, even on th worst of days.

Also, I'm sorry for your loss.

Jeanne Washburn said...

So glad I found your blog - it is lovely - with such heartfelt words and photographs...sending good thoughts your way.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Dear, dear Jeanie....fall has finally bloomed for you and me. It's an exciting time, seeing nature prepare. The squirrels I think VISIT THE BIRD FEEDERS in the early morning hours! Either there are some pregnant squirrels out there or they are seriously preparing for a long, lean winter! teeehehehehehehe

The colors have enchanted me and now to wait for the winter of patience. And, the elections. LET'S SEE WHAT HAPPENS!

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

So sorry you aren't feeling well. Our fall colors are just peaking and will be great for another week or so, making this a longer-than-usual autumn. I have been enjoying it, though I haven't been using my camera to record it. Your photo cards are lovely.

Marilyn Miller said...

I am slow to come visiting. Oh so sorry about your friend's passing. Also sorry to hear your lung problems have reared their ugly head. Just no fun at all. So glad you will get to see Kevin and Molly soon. YES! I can't wait for the election to be over. The media will lift their ugly head tonight. Oh the dahlia's and Lizzie can cheer us so. Joey has a video of birds and animals. I haven't played it for him for awhile. I must do that soon as he does love it. Take care of yourself.

Debs said...

Such beautiful Autumn colours. Truly my favourite season.

BeachGypsy said...

I am so so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. Very sad news. My condolences. Hope to hear you begin feeling better soon. Take it easy and rest up....maybe that will help your body heal/recover some. This post was lovely. And the pictures beautiful. I love your cards...those are very nice! And i love that picture of that big red/white flower. We have no fall color here. We do still have plenty of flowers in bloom. The leaves fall off the trees around about February and then by the end of February, spring arrives. You get used to it after awhile.

shoreacres said...

One of my cousins that I visited with a couple of days ago has lung problems, too, and they really were flaring up while I was with her. It was painful for me to witness, and I can only imagine what it's been like for her (and you) to live with such issues for such a long time. I always wish you could slow down, do a little less -- at least, from time to time. But maybe that's just lazy me, who should be doing a whole lot more!

I just cannot believe that it's time for your holiday sale already, or that the end of October is creeping up. As great-aunt Rilla liked to say, "Tempus fidgets." It seems as though time -- and we -- are getting more fidgety these days!

bj said...

In my advanced age, I've lost many friends and classmates thru the years...and it is always so hurtful...makes me sad to talk about....

Laura Beth said...

It's so lovely to see the end of summer flowers and the start of fall leaves! It's a gorgeous part of the year. You captured the colors so well in your photos!

Red Rose Alley said...

Jeanie, I'm so sorry to hear about your friend passing. What beautiful photos to remember her by. How creative that you made some of your photos into cards, I love that idea. Autumn looks so pretty around your area. And you get the snow! I am looking forward to seeing your snow pictures, as I don't get to see it much around here in the winter, unless we go up in the mountains about an hour away. Those flower pics are gorgeous! And the Mary statue is simply lovely. How funny that Lizzie gets entertained with the birds on the screen. Yes, to everything there is a season. Your post today was filled with wonder and beauty, Jeanie.

~Sheri

Julia - Vintage with Laces said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend, Jeanie. It's really sad that not many cared about her. I'm also sorry that you have such health issues. Hopefully you'll feel much better soon and will be able to enjoy all the upcoming events. Your printed cards are beautiful.
It's so cute that Lizzie loves to watch bird videos.
Have a lovely weekend!
xo Julia

Lynne said...

Beautiful photos . . .
Sad for your friend dying and the circumstances . . .
And sad your lung sickness has returned and wearing you down.
I hope Southern Exposure brings some lightness and joy . . .
Look forward to seeing, hearing about your creations!

Deb said...

Tour note-cards are beautiful. Jeanie I love the Lizzy one. :) I hope you are feeling better today. I know the loss of a good friend and I'm sending you a hug today. Deb

thepaintedapron.com said...

I hope you feel better soon Jeanie, I really enjoyed your beautiful photos today...tea and a scone sounds like the perfect way to rest and cheer up...don't let the season overwhelm you, just do what you can :)
Jenna

Katie Clooney said...

Jeanie.. your photos are spectacularly gorgeous. So sorry that you're not feeling well. I hope that you are feeling better now.

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