Monthly Archives: September 2015

Happy 100th!



This week’s post was my 100th!  Thank you, readers, for your support and encouragement.  You keep me writing and thinking.  I couldn’t do it without you. Stay tuned for 100 more…

Moons and dew-covered mums

new-moon_unknownSo among my friends or acquaintances or family or pretty much anyone who has ever met or seen me longer than a five minute conversation, I am known as a night person. And in the reverse, I am definitely not considered a morning person. I mean never.  Not even Christmas morning, Easter egg hunting and including the child who has the nerve to deliver a grandchild before dawn.

And then I might not appear until mom and babe are nestled safely in their assigned room.  At least until after seven a.m.

I am a firm believer that we are inherently night or morning people.  My mom was a night person.  My dad a morning kind of guy.  My husband definitely nods off after nine p.m. while I am up long past midnight.

But lately, my world has taken a sudden and irreversible shift. It all started with a conversation my brother and I had about mums as we pulled into a farmer’s market last month.

A hot day in late August, the stands were chock full of partially opened mounds of mums of all colors and sizes. We turned to one another and both admitted we did not like them. We agreed we don’t like the smell of a mum, the meaning of a mum–that summer is over and fall is upon us.  We also mused they represented that school would soon start, both of us former teachers, a potted symbol that the lazy days of summer are ending.

Beyond that though, those mums took on a broader meaning for me.  They bloom fast and die young , often with the first frost. So all around they are loser flowers for me.

Especially this year. That same brother, my only brother, was given a pretty tough cancer diagnosis not long before our farmer’s market visit and blooming fast and dying young just doesn’t  appeal to me in the sexy James Dean sort of way it might have at eighteen.

Similarly, my thoughts have changed about moons.  I used to love nothing better than a full moon and we have had some pretty fancy ones lately. Blue moons, red moons, harvest moons. Even tonight’s super blood moon being eclipsed not to be seen again until 2033.

But now the sliver of a new moon looks just like a slice of heaven to me.  All fresh and slender and hopeful. Peeking out from behind the earth with a silver white thumbnail of hope and future. Time and growth.

Watching someone you love fight a life threatening illness does that to a person, I think. It stops you in your tracks and each day looks a little different.  Feels a little off. Lacks a little luster. Or conversely, everything appears in technicolor as though you will never see this day, this time, this moment again.  The thought of the next moment minus an integral part of your being, your blood, your nuclear brood is disarming. And sad. And makes time and the present all the more precious.

So this night owl, has been inspired to get up earlier a few mornings. Seize the day. Carpe Diem and what not. I have a new friend “dew.”  Before, it was just something that was evaporating as I sat on my chair on my patio or had left a few sparkles on the hood of my car as the sun was approaching a midday sky. But now I leave footprints in the soft dew-soaked grass as I walk to get the morning paper. It feels good. Morning-like. And a symbol of beginnings.

Grocery stores are a brave new world in the morning.  Full of employees stocking shelves, chatting amongst themselves, smiling and looking unhurried. Aisles are wide open, mopped clean and quiet. Not mobbed by mothers with hungry, dirt-smudged children dashing through at five, grabbing food and looking frazzled.

I have been walking more on these crisp early fall days.  Sunny with a hint of coolness in the air. I pass house after house of young families; dads mowing lawns, children playing hopscotch on the sidewalk, moms standing chatting, nonchalantly bouncing babies in carriages or chasing toddlers headed for the street.

And my thoughts drift to the passage of time.  And how fast my life has moved from theirs–full of hope, long days and plans for the future.  They seem completely unaware of all that life can throw at them, unexpectedly, out of the blue.

Come at you as suddenly as an eighteen wheeler turning sharply into your lane.

My brother and I talked about that, too.  We wondered if any of us stop and appreciate the simple sweet moments of our youth. The unadorned ones that looking back can rip your heart out in their precious simplicity. Kids building sandcastles by the shore. A child reaching up to take your hand for reassurance. An unexpected hug just for no reason but love.

We admitted we both had stopped a time or two, but not often enough.  We were too busy living it.  And maybe that is good. Knowing how quickly it all passes means nothing when you are just out of the gate, the finish line a distant blur of unknowns and barely visible.

So this fall I’m thinking about beginnings and endings, life and death; the harsh reality that it is all temporal, our time here.

And I am trying to relish the moments. Lean into the good and forgive the bad, especially the old grudges I refuse to let go.

Because none of us knows when the grim reaper will appear. But I can assure you for me, he will be carrying a smelly pot of brown-tinged mums.