I started writing this while sitting outside on our back deck in the cool NC mountains, sun’s warmth on my shoulders, birds cawing in the distance, patient dog at my feet. Now I'm back in the sweltering summer heat, sticky and thick, dreaming of flowers silently reaching for the sky, a breeze making a shhhh sound as it glides through the trees.
A little more than one year ago, I was making funeral arrangements for my younger sister’s service. A year before that at this same time of year, I was packing for my trip to Ireland, to live and work in Cork for four months. The year before that, we were neck deep in the pandemic. And the year before that, our university was still reeling from a school shooting and my beloved dog had just died.
Life changes in a snap. You can know what you think you know, make plans for what you think is going to happen, relate to people based on what you think the relationship is like, but no one can accurately predict what will be.
But, still, life goes on. As one of the characters in my memoir Searching through Time says, “There is always another day, another trip, another chance. Maybe even another lifetime. We are born into our choices and our choices birth us and there is safety in that. We can make new choices and there is adventure in that. The balance between the two—safety and adventure—is our lives. . . . We are all just trying to live the best lives we can within the choices we have made.”
This sonnet I wrote several years ago (and recently revised) seems appropriate in the midst of contemplating changing seasons:
Seasons of Life
The full moon peeking behind the trees,
a cold cold night, Ladybug skating
the icy smooth windowpane, sun's light
warming her belly, golden shimmers
blowing. Late fall smell, decaying leaves
crunch underfoot, breaking silky
silence. Tall oaks, golden brown longings,
sepia inky moon-touchers, flighty
sparrows' rune, empty hourglass, seasons'
flow, three ravens read the signs. Clouds
float yesterday's dream-debris, evensong,
Zugzwang fates, like tides, broken shells, unfolding.