Saturday, November 29, 2014

"...there is a season"

November is my favorite month, the month of my birthday, of Thanksgiving, of cooling temperatures and, for much of the nation, of colored leaves swirling through the air, sometimes followed days later by snowflakes. This year the colors of Louisiana's November have been bolder than ever--maybe no match for the vivid reds I remember from early years spent in Missouri, but quite pleasing nonetheless.

Kim and I spent Thanksgiving Day at Kelli's house, where the food was wonderful and the company even better. Before leaving Kelli's, I sat on a stool next to three-year-old Olivia. "I had fun with you today," I told her.

"Yes," she replied, with a smile on her face and a cookie in her hand. "We laughed."

Indeed we did. We laughed a lot, and I'm grateful that each of the children and grandchildren in our family was born with a sense of humor.

We left Kelli's late in the afternoon, needing to be home in time to give the dogs their supper. Kim drove, and I sat in the shotgun seat and aimed my camera through the windshield. The sun was in our eyes, and as it sank lower and lower during the course of our twenty-minute ride, it lit the trees from behind, causing the translucent leaves to grow brighter with each mile we traveled.

On that day I recognized how much I have to be thankful for. I still do. I always do, yet November, beautiful as it is, has been a hard month. Colder weather has made my knees hurt. My feet, having known the freedom of sandals for months now, are not happy about having to wear more substantial shoes. All the pants that fit me a month ago are too tight now. Comfort food is not my friend.

Even as I am grateful on a larger scale, I am frequently irritated on the small scale that weighs the success of individual days. My coping skills don't seem to be functioning as well as usual. Little tasks (such as calling the doctor to find out why two long-term prescriptions that expired were renewed for one month only) require more effort than I've been able to muster up, yet must be done before we get much deeper into holiday-related office closures. I'm comfortable with routine (set in my ways?), and holidays disrupt it.

I'm getting old. I've never been a high-energy person, and I find I'm getting tired more easily now than I used to. As much as I like November, its physical changes remind me that life is seasonal, that slowing down is a natural process, followed in the plant world by the process of shutting down, either temporarily or permanently and, if nature intends it to be so, followed then by a period of rebirth.

I am aware that a life span is finite, that burying myself between the pages of a book is a lovely way to spend a cold autumn afternoon but not the most productive way to use the remainder of the unknown number of days allotted to me. There are things I need to do.

These thoughts about mortality are caused partly by the changing of the seasons and partly by the notice I received yesterday that my online friend and fellow blogger, Patsy, has passed away following a long illness. Considering words Patsy herself has written about her suffering and her faith, perhaps she was ready to reach this final milestone. I will miss her wit and her wisdom.

I am not ready. Not yet. The splendid colors of the season remind me to take care of business while there's still time.


The song is "Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There Is a Season)," written by Pete Seeger, performed by The Byrds.
Thanks to mhcaillesrn for posting the video and lyrics on YouTube.


  1. Patsy was ready to go as she was always self-reliant, never leani on others, but rather holding them up! She was smart enough to see what was head! She told me not long ago she had lost all joy and was just waiting her time which I said was written in the sand and she said no in stone. You are not there yet. You can still walk, see, drive! She had lost all those pleasures.
    Thanks for remembering patsy. She would tell you to trudge on!

    1. Thank you, Betty, for confirming what I had presumed to be Patsy's state of mind. My 89-year-old stepmother, a dear friend and highly intelligent woman who has Parkinson's disease, told me on the phone the other day that she passes her time now waiting to die. No, I'm not there yet, but I understand how a person can reach a point where the concept of death becomes a hope, not a fear.

      Thanks for the encouragement, too. I will remember the way Patsy trudged on through the tough times, and I'll do the same.


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