October 22, 2010

From our hilltop...

It has been quite a week. Quite a month, actually. Everything in me sighs with the release that comes from "too much." But much of the too much has been good, so finding balance and prioritizing the choices I do have has been challenging. With this stress I've found the changing of the trees on our property to be comforting. Dependable. Steadfast.

Like a child who longs for stability, I know that no matter how much there is to do or what business or personal problems or joys will pop up, the trees are going to turn their vibrant golden hues, then let go and fall to earth to disintegrate into next year's topsoil. The land will rest soon, and all of its potential will lie hidden to me, wrapped in snow and covered in a light-gray winter's sky. The growth of spring will only be a hope, and my being here to see it a desire, never a given. Nothing in life is.

I feel the cool air and hear the crackle of leaves under my sturdy shoes, now lined with wool socks. Our dogs seem to want to sniff every leaf--the squirrels who teased them, jumping in the treetops this summer, have left their scent. Carried on maple, oak, walnut, and buckeye leaves like magic carpets made just for this, the squirrelly smell has trickled down to the worn-out grass and given the four-legged detectives something to investigate.

Tyler stands peering over the edge of our hill to the steep leaf-covered slope where chipmunks scurry along the dead trees that fell two winters ago. He wants to run after them. His eyes are getting older and, while he knows something is moving, he can't quite see what it is and he's trained to be obedient and stay.

I feel the same. Something is shifting, but I am not sure what it is or what it means. This seems to be the time of year for it, this time right before the season of forced festivity. I am always ready to set my dreams for next year in November, and they are not the giving up kind but the saying yes kind. What will I say yes to next year? And to say yes, then to what will I say no? And then, I think, how lucky to have the luxury of these sort of choices.

A chipmunk crosses the leaf-strewn patio and Tyler sees it from his post by the window. He knows what it is now, and plans to follow it one day.

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