Friday, August 28, 2009

It came with the Autumn

This is the favorite time of the year for many of us. Autumn has a, "homey" theme somehow. "Homemade" becomes the byword amongst women, and the need to create prevails. With men it may be the psychological whispers of an era long past when their main occupation was providing food, warmth and protection for the cold months ahead.
The ladies still have some hands-on-options to fulfill the deeper urges of gathering and storing. Visions of jams and pickles, pumpkin pies, knitted scarves and jewel-colored quilts waltz through feminine minds. Big pots of homemade soup appear on the back of the stove and the stores have a run on electric bread-makers. Even with all the improvements technology can provide for us it seems that at least a part of our love for Autumn hearkens back to a time when it wasn't quite so easy to prepare a family for the coming winter.
Those were times when people were truly busy, "making" their living, yet, the checker games were played with sons and daughters. The classics were read and listened to with fervor. Friends came over for an evening of simply talking. Imagine that.
There was a lot of singing around pianos that sat in 80% of American parlors. Most everyone knew the words to hundreds of songs, and nearly every family had a musician or two.
Long, well-written letters crisscrossed the world with affection and interest. These were not notes of facts and figures, but scaled down works of the heart talking; so dear to the recipients that many were tied with satin ribons and read over and over. It took time to compose those missiles and time was just as precious as it is now...precious enough to spend any extra on those we cared about.
I have a theory that Autumn is the favorite season for so many people because a big part of us would like to LIVE the Autumns of our grandparents, or even our great-grandparents. Mainly because we haven't researched what that involved. The harvest alone would hospitalize most modern couples of today. Then canning. preserving drying, butchering and smoking would finish them off. We think we're busy now...?
Busy is the most overused word in the English language today. It's everybody's excuse for...everything. "Sorry, I'm just too busy."
If we aren't careful we will become too, "busy" to hold conversations of any substance, to pat a cheek, to say a prayer, to keep in touch with an old friend, or look--really look--into the eyes of a little one. These moments come but once. We can't go scurrying after them and gather them up again if the mood happens to strike us.
Too many of us are over-occupied with justifiable, "business."
Some years ago I dropped an oral thermomenter on the floor. It broke in two and the mercury inside began its oily, quicksilver race to find every crack in the wooden floor. The harder I tried to pick it up with a spoon, the faster it slipped away...splitting up, muliplying a hundred times until it simply disappeared in places too small for me to investigate.
Once the thermometer was severly damaged there was no way to save the meaningful part of the apparatus. Recently, I've seen a parallel between this idea and an aspect of life....the whole point to this story.
September 11th most Americans had spent some time weeping. Tears flowed from sea to shining sea, and we all had questions. Who? Why? And then, the more personal cries from ordinary people who lost chunks of their hearts between a quick morning leave-taking and a never-to-be, "Hello."
From some slight experience I know the endless keening sent toward Heaven, all the regrets, all the, "If only's.
Did I take the time to tell her/him how much they were loved? Why didn't I give just one more kiss. Why did I make excuses last night when she wanted to talk? Why didn't we take that get-away cruise? Why didn't we spend more time just being together? No TV, football games, or sit coms?
Some of the complaints against ourselves are natural and usually invalid, but, I was hit between the eyes with some very real shortcomings of my own. Just how, too- busy had I been over the last couple of years? How many times had I mnde excuses for missing showers, birthdays, picnics, etc. and yes, even funerals. I didn't like the answer. Had I lost too much mercury from my thermometer? Was it too late to get another and protect it wih backed-up, carried-through intentions?
We hear it over and over, "Our contry will never be the same." and I know that's true. Every day I am learning to live in this new place. The back of my mind is never completely clear of niggling apprehensions, and yet, I believe we can turn the results of that Autumn disaster toward the light and a better way of spending the life we have.
Let's not be too busy to try harder to love our neighbor
A trivial , tired and meaningless quest? I hope to God...not.


  1. Autumn is obviously my mother's favorite season. She loves it so much she named me after it! Should you get the chance you should check out my cousin Brad Smith's blog called Woodcreek Ranch. It's on the sidebar of my blog. He's been writing about the early settlers of the apalachias. Great post!

  2. So very true. I do miss receiving long, carefully written letters. I do love to write and mail them, but I am not so sure they are appreciated because I rarely get any response from them, so I kind of quit writing and sending them except to older relatives who do not use the internet at all. And you know what, they write back.

    I came from a child hood of my family spending time talking, telling stories, singing songs to my fathers' guitar music, playing games...and raking Aututmn leaves together, good memories.

  3. Dear One,
    Enjoyed this read.
    Taking time to smell the roses!
    So many changes along the way.
    God Bless,