Autumn…..a time to reflect…..

Posted: September 24, 2013 in Community, Family
Tags: , , , , , , ,

st joseph

Anne and I were at the lake last weekend, starting close down our trailer yet again after another great season of camping. As we worked away, stowing things for the winter, securing items that require a little bit of TLC in order to make it through to spring, I find that this particular moment has now become an annual opportunity for me to reflect upon our year and also compose some writing in my head, some of which I will share with you, other things to remain locked either on my computer or in my head, where they belong.

I find that autumn is a better time to look back on the past 12 months than at New Year’s. It just seems more appropriate. As Northerners, we know all too well that each season is quite distinct. Whereas someone who lives in Florida has less difference between the seasons, we have four very different times of year. It is, of course, all a matter of perspective. As a youngster, Fall meant something completely different to me than it does now. It was the gateway to winter, to the season of playing hockey, playing outside, and having fun. I had so little responsibility. I have since learned to embrace autumn in all its splendor.

Autumn is Nature’s way of preparing us for a long season of slumber. It allows our bodies and minds to acclimate to the inevitable onslaught of cold and snow, instead of throwing us into the maw of winter with little warning. We have evolved as humans to use this time to gather ourselves, literally and figuratively, together to survive unto spring. Many of us have embraced winter as a season to exploit the elements and thus enjoy the outdoors for twelve months of the year. Others, including myself, choose this time to cocoon and reflect. Either way, we cope as we must.

As I gather all the trappings of our camping season, and salt away the items we have collected over the years, the items that define our lives, our marriage and our friendships, I am painfully aware of the nostalgia and melancholic feelings this creates. Our children are no longer little, and while they like to camp, they also like to stay back in town some of the time, on their own. We are having to re-invent our roles as we release our grip on their lives, allowing them the space they need to become self-sufficient. It’s cathartic. It’s difficult. It’s necessary.

Reflecting back on our year, my family has been tested. A good friend passed on. My brother Bob, older than me yet all too young, one of the best friends I have ever had, left us suddenly, leaving a gaping hole in my life that only time and love will fill. My wife’s brother suffered a severe stroke, and is still climbing the long hill of recovery. Our parents are getting older, and we are dealing with this as best we can. It has been a tumultuous year, yet also one full of blessings.

Autumn is an excellent time to think of all these things. The weather is not yet severe enough for us to have to ensconce ourselves with warmth, as the sun stays with us less and less. It is a time that seems to slow down, just enough, for us to collectively catch our breaths. Winter will be here soon enough. The long slumber of the land around us will be long enough for us to appreciate the coming of spring, of reawakening and renewal. And while we wait, we stop, we reflect, and we keep intact the love of those around us, while remembering those who have left us all too soon.

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