The turn of the season is undeniably upon us, and although there are still hot humid days ahead, the nights are cold and clear, reminding me of what is to come. In the past, autumn has always been the most delightful season for me, bringing all things that I find delightful– refreshing temperatures, crock pot dinners, the first fire in the stove; however, these magical moments always seem to overshadow the memory of the difficult stuff. The business, the work that comes before winter.
The yellowing grass and the drying beans in the garden are symbolic of more than just the change of year, as we head towards the Equinox, we too, may be reminded of things that must change in our own lives. It’s funny how these traditional ways can still sneak in to our modern world, without our even knowing it. That restlessness in our souls, calling out the stream of things from the summer’s list that won’t be checked off? Those things are real, timeless, and part of the common experience. They remind us of something more than just not planting the third crop of peas or taking the kids to one more museum before the end of the summer. It’s so easy for things undone to snowball into how we see ourselves, how accomplished we believe ourselves to be, and how much greatness we are or are not offering to those around us. Historically, these feelings of dissatisfaction with our summer accomplishments were a survival instinct. If we didn’t complete all of our tasks before the first snow, our families were sure to parish. Today, the laundry lists may not be as urgent to our very survival, but they are still bound tightly to our nature.The sense of urgency is still prominent. So it only makes sense that we take this time, on a yearly basis, to step back and take stock of what’s really important and make peace with letting go. The words letting go, have been there, mockingly in the back of my mind for a few months now, as a common theme in my writing, since pregnancy, this one of several, has left me feeling tired and a bit defeated. Overall, my value, my sense of purpose, comes from what I contribute to my home, my family, my work, and the world around me, and it seems as though just creating a human, as miraculous as it may be, doesn’t resonate with the general population as valuable. I feel it.I’ve taken a good look around me, and I’ve made decisions, some conscious, some unintentional, to let things go…my garden, my chickens, my generally clean home, much of what I choose to write about here. I’ve begun to look a bit closer at relationships, those worth keeping, those worth fighting for, and those that I’ve kept at for far too long, giving more than my share, while I’m still left feeling empty. Perhaps it’s the time of year to let those go as wellI had thought I had whittled away the list enough, until my caring midwife, began to call out everything on my list…things that I don’t even think are list-worthy, and I began to see her point when she jokingly added in the phrase all this while making my own preserves and knitting my own clothing. “But I am doing those things!” I proclaimed. She severely pointed out how it would sound to me if my good friend had repeated the same list of things to me while telling me that she didn’t know why she was so tired. I think the tears I shed following this talk were tears of relief. Relief in knowing that I’m just rightfully tired. So what else is on the chopping block? Well, those out of doors projects that I had excitedly mentioned here, they’ve almost all been set aside for next year, but after that, I’m having a hard time letting go.And then there is a much deeper, more literal form of letting go that I was reminded of this past month as my beautiful friend married her long-time partner, dressed from head to toe in lace and flowers, surrounded by a halo of joyous light. I felt privileged to be there, capturing their magical day with my lens, and I couldn’t help but notice that there is something almost relaxing about a wedding between two people who really know each other. But the moment that hit me most, was when I scooted (my pregnant version of running) behind the bride as she sped off in her best dress after her father as he made his exit from the day, much earlier than, I’m sure, he would have liked. Having been given a diagnosis of terminal cancer, he was every bit entitled to make his departure. As she stood next to him, we snapped a few photos, of the bride, on her wedding day, next to her father, tears of every emotion streaming down her face. She is letting go, much earlier than, I’m sure, she would like. Having walked in those shoes nearly five years ago with my own father, I know those feelings. The confusion of so much happiness in my own life, flipping back and forth into the terror that grief brings. I know the difficult moments that are to yet to come, and I know about the process of letting go of someone whom I’ve loved dearly. I know that sickness, hovering around my solar plexus, and I am far too familiar with the sense of guilt for the feelings of relief that flood in when it is all over. I know about the years of laying everything to rest afterwards. This Thanksgiving will mark five years that I’ve lived without my father. I wish I could say that there was something magical in the lesson, that there really was some deep and hidden meaning in the struggle, but sometimes letting go is just work. It’s hard and occasionally unfair. It’s a process, not a whim. It moves us forward, regardless of whether or not we are ready.And when it comes to letting go of control, are we ever really ready? The magical discovery of the spider’s art was made and captured by Papa Bear
xo Mama Bear