The first week after the last weekend of civil summer provided us with a glimpse of the coming weeks. With goldenrod in full bloom, and the summer fields dying back, autumn is not far away. Several species of migrating birds have left the area, and I say goodbye to each flock that gathers on the power lines to take census of their friends before beginning the great journey south. Some will only go a few miles, while others have over a thousand miles ahead of them, and the journey will be perilous. Meanwhile, Susan and I are preparing for winter, and the crew is preparing the farm for the cold season ahead. We have already made our autumn list of tasks, and it is daunting. Still, like every year, we will proceed one day at a time, dealing with whatever comes our way.
The autumn blue sky always triggers a bout of sadness in me every year. While there is rest that awaits us in the winter, we also experience a bit of withdrawal. Winter is a time of privacy and quiet, but we will miss our communities that we serve. Our summers are filled with friends and joy, each day a new challenge, each day full of encounters. In the winter, we will retreat to rest and gather our thoughts for a while. Sometime after the winter solstice and Holidays, we will begin the arduous process of planning and executing the 2019 growing season. In the fall, however, we grieve for the one that is now in our past.
Grieving is a healthy part of life. When one is deeply passionate about something, the loss of that can trigger pain. When grieving, I experience regret and remorse. I feel regret for the missed opportunities and remorse for not recognizing these earlier. We only get one try at most things that matter. Like the seasons, there will only be one opportunity for me to completely engage with this year. Our time in our season is always too short. So, in each season, I try to learn to appreciate the one I am in more fully.
When I finally reach the acceptance phase of grieving, I begin to realize that each day is a gift, regardless of the season that I am in. It is all but certain that another one will emerge from the ashes of this year. If I am fortunate enough to be around for it, I will attempt to embrace it with more passion and mindfulness than past seasons. If given the chance, I will choose to fill my days with joy and wonder, and maybe, just maybe, I can look back and say that I did my best. In the end, all we ever really have is our memories of days in the warm summer sun and our evenings in slumber with the crickets singing us lullabies in the moonlit nights. When I think about it, I can think of little else I could have asked of the 2018 season than this.