Thinking Season

I originally wrote this in October, 2011 as a guest post on my friend Terri Long’s blog. It reveals things I love and countless moments I’ve allowed to slip by. I had to share it here!

Autumn is quickly making its way again to the Southern California mountains. Those familiar with this place are already admiring the changing light and the crisp, cool night air. The leaves have not begun to turn, but the apples and pears are ripe and delicious, mine sweeter and more dear to me every year I have the good fortune to tend the trees. Soon I’ll be making homemade soup and cornbread and writing by the fire on Sunday afternoons.

Life changes, and, just as summer creeps into fall, one chapter pours into the next with such a gentle flow we barely notice the movement. While winter is typically a time to wait and let things gel and spring the time for action, October is somehow a thoughtful time for me. This is thinking season.

I’ve written myself a note to call the woodcutters to come split the oak they felled three years ago; I’ll need fuel for the woodstove in November. The dead tree was still upright, its limbs pocked with woodpecker holes and a danger to the roof in high wind. When the heavy branches fell, a coven of huge bats flew out in a whoosh, like a hundred silent Hogwarts children dressed in black and rushing into the hall with the final bell. My vampire-writing friends envied my first-hand witness to their flight. I was simply sad about the lost shade, and turning the creatures out of their cozy home.

I’ve written before about having few regrets (I’ll count the bats as one). Another real disappointment is not having understood the deep value of simply noticing as one month scuttled into the next. As youngsters, my friends and I celebrated first at college parties, then weddings. Later, we caught up at baptisms, then their own children’s nuptials. Now, we only meet face-to-face at our parent’s funeral services. My mother and father grow more fragile day by day, and inevitably our turn will come.

I so wish I’d been better about chronicling important passages, recording what I thought and what I learned through the years. Only in brief moments do I really feel I get it right. I will myself to take a breath, to stop and see what is happening around me. I want to feel the joy and the sadness. Even loss holds an important place as a gateway to hope, and whatever we decide to create out of its sorrowful hold. The hard, unexpected right hand turns we’re dealt have hidden benefits, if we look – and decide to make it so.

I observe my friends enjoying vastly different stages of their family’s lives. Some have children in grade school. Another’s youngest is a high school senior. One is enjoying retirement and a newly empty nest, and yet another welcomes grandchildren into her family and the world. And all the moving! New houses, even homes in brand new states – they’re experiencing it all.

My dream is that we find the time to capture every lovely, singular day or accomplishment. Every goal achieved. My deepest wish is that although we’re all involved in countless activities that constantly claim our attention, we urge our busy selves to be aware and grateful for the gifts around us and the people we love. Let’s allow the places we visit and the feelings they evoke to touch us enough to leave a tiny mark. A reminder.

Change is the only constant, and some we undertake are difficult. Others are especially poignant. Not one moment can be relived in anything but a memory. We can’t stop time. We can’t freeze any experience to savor later on, regardless of the importance it may hold. Our only recourse is to be aware, and try to turn every day into our personal thinking season. We can savor what we have before it passes, before moving on to the next challenge. Somehow, I think this is the key to really having lived.

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14 Responses to Thinking Season

  1. Laura Zera (@laurazera) May 14, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    You’re good people, Molly Greene.

  2. Belinda Pollard May 14, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

    This is lovely, Molly. It’s autumn right now where I live in Brisbane. Although we’re sub-tropical, the mornings are very crisp, and the skies an endless, placid blue. It’s a softer, kinder blue than our brassy summer heat-and-humidity skies, and yet not to be confused with the pale and delicate blue of those (rare) English winter clear skies. I love the sky (can ya tell???), and yet how many times do we forget to look up!

  3. Laura Diane May 14, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

    Very nice and now with the seasons reversing into spring we get to anticipate all that will come with the fruitfulness of summer then the transition again to fall. Lovely post. Thanks for sharing.

  4. John Paul McKinney May 14, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    Beautiful, Molly. Yes, “To everything there is a season….” I think the monks must have it right. Marking the hours of the day with the Divine Office and the seasons of the year with the liturgical calendar must certainly help them “savor what they have before is passes.” Thanks for the beautifully written blog.

  5. Diane Hughes May 15, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    …to capture every lovely, singular day or accomplishment.

    Who could ask for more than that?

  6. Kate Policani May 15, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

    Hi! Tried to email you to see when you want me to post the Mark of the Loon review! When’s your release? I’m so excited!

  7. Dannie Hill May 15, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

    A very good post! I miss the preparations for Winter and the change of seasons. Thank yuo for taking me back, Molly!

  8. Ron McCabe May 19, 2012 at 7:55 am #

    Hey Molly…There’s that smile you put on my face again. Sorry for the tardy comment. I’ve been traveling with a friend from England. They just love the Cowboys & Indians stuff! I think I’ve told you before, I’m 65 yrs. aged; like a block of cheese…maybe! The thing you have so right in your piece here is the notion of really feeling, capturing, appreciating, recognizing, respecting…holding selfishly dear in your heart each precious moment and experience that comes your way. Well…not my intention to give you my spin on your insight, except to tell you once more how correct you have it and how much I enjoy your voice.

    • Molly Greene May 20, 2012 at 6:39 am #

      Ron, you are absolutely right! “… really feeling, capturing, appreciating, recognizing, respecting…holding selfishly dear …” This is what I was trying to say, and what I try to do. Thank you so much!

  9. Rolando May 20, 2012 at 5:30 am #

    Very thought provoking Molly. What I find difficult is that sometimes gaining that awareness of a place or a situation takes time, and time is what we don’t have much of in this hectic world. I can achieve this awareness if I have pen and paper with me and I can jot down a sketch of my experience on that particular moment, but that is often not the case. Sometimes all I can do is evoke the memory, but a memory is no substitute for the real thing.

    • Molly Greene May 20, 2012 at 6:37 am #

      Hi Rolando! Sadly yes, memories aren’t ever as good as the real thing. But that’s all we have! And we can edit them :-O

  10. Joshua Mercier May 28, 2012 at 7:54 am #

    This is beautiful Molly. Absolutely beautiful. And although it’s only May and technically still spring, I can feel Autumn’s cunning approach–evident by the scattering of yellow leaves in the backyard–and I anticipate and welcome its return. I feel I always get my best writing completed in the crispness of the cooling Autumn air. It’s like my thoughts are like the leaves outside my window–turning, ripening, released by the Great Tree of Inspiration, and scattering softly and effortlessly to the pages before me.

    Thank you for this post. It lit a creative spark and brought a childlike eagerness to my soul.
    I will be joining you, in front of my own fireplace, to type ever so diligently on my laptop… Trying to encapsulate the very sights, thoughts, and feelings of the moments that took my breath away from me… Trying to place them, like gems, amongst the other words on the pages for all to find and enjoy just as I had when I experienced them for the first time.

    Happy Scribing,

    Joshua Allen Mercier
    ‘The Bearded Scribe’

    • Molly Greene May 28, 2012 at 9:47 am #

      Thank you, Joshua! SO appreciate your gorgous comment. Thanks for stopping by!