I love the changing of the seasons, especially from summer to fall, and I love it even more as I get older. As the air gets cooler and the leaves start to change, we stop to gaze in wonder at their beauty. Despite their brilliance and continuously awe-inspiring splendor, there is the distinct awareness that this signals the end of a season for the leaves and the trees both.
The falling leaves are a shedding of what was once green and vibrant. As the once green leaves dry and fall to the earth, laying bare the trees, they take their place in the next cycle of life, to nourish the new, the green grass and flowers that will come again in the spring.
This year, as I contemplate the beauty of the season, there is a bittersweet undertone to it all. Just a few short weeks ago, weeks that seem like years, Mama took a fall that left her with a broken hip that could not be repaired. It signaled the return of a long past and seemingly forgotten cancer. We were on the phone when she fell, chatting, mother and daughter, having a good time, catching up on the day. Then, in an instant, a literal instant, she yelled out, “Baby, I fell.”
From there, she went from an ambulance, to the hospital and surgery, to weeks in rehab to prepare for life in her very much changed and no longer so able body. She survived the fall, but in a single instant, everything changed. Although this time, it was Mama, eventually, it changes for us all. In time, we all have to face our own mortality, the changes and the frailty of the mortal bodies that we live in.
Although the collective changing of the leaves inspires awe in us all, the fall of each leaf is a solitary journey. Several years back, I too had an accident that left me not quite as able as I was before. That day changed me in many ways. Each, in our turn, and that time, it was mine, I adjusted and picked up the pieces that were left. Life is different in this season but life is still life. And life is still what you make it. As does each and every leaf on a tree, we all have a place and we all have a turn.
As the family prepares for Thanksgiving, with the anticipation of being back home again this year, there is a bittersweet reality to it all. One by one, we all face our mortality, our aging and no longer so able bodies. Nevertheless, this too is a season, a season of love, gratitude and family. Remembrance of those who have gone on. Gratitude for the life that we do have and humility at the realization of our own fleeting place in the cycle of life.
Although I did the meme, that photo credit goes to Pixabay.
The bridge photo credit goes to StockSnap.