I never imagined that some of the photos I snapped absentmindedly would become the things that would reopen every facet of a moment, from the smell of the butcher block and the sheen of the sippy cup rings, to the way that the breeze had rattled the loose front screen door. I can hear the echo of that door, the tinny metal scraping on the uneven transom, I can see the rusty droplets on the welcome mat from the many times it barked against my heel.
Watching the girls slip from their baby forms like snakes from a skin, I am, if not in total acceptance, mindful of the months and years ahead. There will be a bus as the air changes in September, it will carry Briar away to see faces I won’t, and to hear and share in conversations that I’ll never hear. There will be name tags on cubbies and lessons I won’t teach, hours will pass each day when not a single girl is waiting, pining for her turn to leave. It’s only preschool and elementary school this year, but each coming year builds speed and each time the door closes behind them we get ever closer to the time when they go to not come back.
I want to hold them tighter as they become more themselves and less echoes of me. They scurry further away, darting this way and that. I am slower, sometimes to let them win, other times because I am less and less the girl and more and more the rememberer.
I was thinking the other day as Sean explained the concept of back-to-school shopping, that there was a time when each September was a heady mix of promise and intrigue. Sometime around late August a switch would just flip and mourning summer quickly became counting the days until autumn. Which teacher, which friend, argyle sweaters, new erasers, Halloween!
I wonder when that goes away. Why is the potent blessing of summer’s end and autumn’s return not celebrated? I try so hard to find ways to hold onto gratitude, patience and acceptance, but why aren’t I trying harder to reclaim the fervor? Having spent the last two weeks careening between a place of grievous harm and a zen state of recovery, I keenly want to revisit those joys of old.
Rather than expecting the same failures or assuming a repetition of the previous year, I am going to hurl myself headlong into the potential of a new season. I am alive, battered and exhausted, yes, but with a renewed passion for this unpredictable life of mine that is as resilient as it is fragile.
I suppose when the newness of this brush with death passes, fervor may be hard to sustain, but I know I’ll never fear or feel shame for my delight or my questing. As the wind carries the scent of wet leaves and singed pumpkin skin, I’ll be standing with my girls, costumed and bright-eyed, witnessing their joy and unleashing my own exclaims of “Oooh” this and “wow” that.
This is the season of back-to-trusting in life’s magic. Can you smell it?
A… As they grow.. it matters not what happens. You will always feel the reality of how everything and anything can change at the snap. Whether its you, or somthing else, we need everyday to give thnaks. You take care of you… for them. Love you. Kel
Lovely. I have always loved that time of year and the promise of renewal that it brings.
thanks for helping me look forward to autumn
i am lost right now in that whirlwind sweaty dirty footed fog of summer… moving across the country…
dreading the newness of my new home and how fall will feel in an unfamiliar place – reading this blog helped me escape that, or look at autumn in a new light…
thanks again, always a pleasure to read your stuff!
Keep resting so you’re ready for fall.
I’ve known you – or thought I had an idea about who you were and what you’re about as well as what you could become. I had no idea and am so completely humbled at your ability to say in words what I cannot – what most of us cannot. This post says exactly what so many of us feel, but are not able to articulate to such depth and for certain, not as beautifully poetic as you have exhibited here. I’m certain I’ll be reading your ‘book’ one day. Kudos to you, you young, beautiful mother.
This is such beauty and truth and the ache of being human and all the fragility of it entrusted to us. I pray all the love and the joy that you already seem to have bottled here. That and then some more!
Oh, wow, this is just stunning – you animate the thing that preoccupies me more than any other (the impermanence of it all) with such stunning images … I’m speechless. Slipping like snakes from skin. Yes, yes, yes.
Your words. How your words go right to my heart.
the season of back-to-trusting in life’s magic
Thank you. The whole post was beautiful but that line will resonant for the rest of today and into my night’s dreams.
I remember that switch in late August, when the focus turned from all things summer to the rituals of fall and school and yes argyle and new pencils and the selected notebooks and lunch boxes and the smell of the school hallway after it’d been vacant for two months. Thanks for that.
Maybe I became a teacher partly because I love the hope that inheres in the rituals of going back to school.
(Glad you’re on the mend.)
The fervor is hard to sustain because it has to be. Otherwise we would burn alive.
But I feel you. I do.
You truly write beautifully exactly how I feel as my children grow and change each week, each month… I’m looking to the new school year, and you described in such precise descriptions of what to look forward to…