Sunday, October 26, 2008

Putting the Garden to Bed

I am putting the garden to bed today, perhaps a fitting activity for me after all the funerals. The garden goes to sleep with always the promise of Spring and its rejuvenation. The trees are the color of drowsy--some are totally bare, others hang onto their leaves until the last dribble of fall has passed.

I enjoy the work--winding away hoses, storing cloches and watering cans. At the end of the season, the garden has been such work that it is a relief to have a break. I know that in the Spring, I will be out again with enthusiasm and excitement, awaiting yet another garden that is my best ever.

Five Funerals in One Year

Yesterday I went to my fifth funeral in a year. It has been dragging down, wearing over the time. The cycle started a year ago this week with the death of Hudson, my father-in-law. It continued on in April with Jelene, followed by the biggest shock of all in August, my brother Mike. Three weeks ago, VM Davis passed away, and yesterday I attended the service for our friend Frank, who finally succumbed to his battle with cancer.

I know that Death is part of the cycle of life, and yet, I resent that I have had to catch up so much this year. Prior, I could probably count the number of funerals I attended in my life on one hand. I have made up for all of that. I know the rote words to say: "I am so sorry for your loss." I know that those words can't really do much to alleviate the pain. Even though VM was 88 years old and had lived a good life, his family was still as broken-hearted over his loss as mine was over the loss of Mike.

I hope that I can have a break from all of this death.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Wreck of the Pine Beetles

David and I went to Walden, Colorado this weekend, to play at a gig--a community barn dance. Walden is out in the middle of nowhere--en route to Steamboat Springs. By the time we arrived there, we were pretty much shell-shocked after seeing the dead pine trees. It was a devastating sight. After we crossed the continental divide, half to three fourths of the pine trees were dead. They were turned a rust color and their branches drooped; they swooned as they died. It was so sad. What is even sadder is that the beetles have made their way across the divide and will wreak havoc on our side as well. The pine forests are going to be gone. We will not see them again in our lifetime, which is just stunning. David and I talked about how we need to spend time in the forest and trees next year, before they are gone. It is just unbelievable.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Onset of Fall

I used to hate Fall. Fall was the precurser of Winter and Winter was my scourge--I had to drive in it. These were during the days when I was a road warrior, driving nearly 40 miles one way to the infamous Denver Tech Center. I dreaded snow. I dwelled on the weather reports and prayed for a warm front, or at least a phone call giving me a repreve on coming to work due to the weather. Those phone calls rarely came.

I can recall days when the roads were astonishingly bad. I prayed for hours solid--the same amount of time I spent in the car, skidding along those roads. Once I flew into DIA and upon arrival found a snowstorm going on. I drove to the nearest motel and stayed there for the night, unable to conceive of driving home in a near blizzard after a grueling trip to do lay-offs.

But now my outlook on Fall and Winter has changed. I like both of these seasons! The change came about when I spent three years working from my home; and specifically from the sunroom on our house, where I looked out upon the seasons. I enjoy Fall--the change in my trees as they drop their leaves and go dormant. I love sitting in the sunroom and watching the snow come down. There is something comforting about being bundled up in the safe indoors and gazing upon the snowstorm.

So now, this year, I observe the yellow and red and orange trees with pleasure, along with the remaining birds--blue jays and finches and a squirrel. I know the snow will be next and I will welcome it.