This month has been full of everything under the sun.
One poignant book club selection read, my favorite book of all time next in the queue. The church's Fall Festival. Confirmandi in preparation, two dresses yet to find, invitations to send, a celebration to plan.
Four hours on a Saturday morning in a chant workshop learning the finer points of the episema and quilisma. Lunch with a friend al fresco in Old St. Anthony, riding to and fro on the Nice Ride bikes. Parking the bikes at the nearest rack to church and walking the rest of the way in the rain. One Wine & Cheese Lecture serendipitously candlelit due to a storm and electrical outage.
A "Harvesting Thanks" party at the Kelley Farm complete with a pair of oxen breaking ground for a new visitor's center. A Hog Roast and barn dance on an Indian Summer Sunday. Overlapping circles of beloved Catholic friends. Ripe apples and rotund pumpkins and zucchini yet to be used. Pickles in the fridge and herbs to be dried.
Four children in music lessons and theater classes. A group harp recital (already). The learning curve it took to get started with MODG online classes. A diagnoses to unpack. Saxon Algebra already ditched for Teaching Textbooks (with our consultant's approval). An end to one year, a beginning to another. Fewer activities to drive to, but a week full enough.
A wellspring of hope - and hopes dashed. Incessant prayers for discernment.
Flowers and falling leaves. Carpets of copper pine needles. The light - the beautiful, slanted light.
Some days I rock my schedule and other days I am willfully distracted. Some days I feel as though I am connecting with each of my children and others when I feel as though there's never enough of me to go around. So many rich days - appreciating all the little miracles of life and others of sheer drudgery under an overcast sky fueled solely by tea, coffee, and prayer.
Morning frosts and afternoon heat. A rainbow of autumnal colors showing themselves entirely too soon. Days when I look forward to hunkering down with in front of the fire with wool socks and pumpkin flavored anything and other days my inner core screams, "NO! I am NOT ready for pumpking spice anything or wool or boots or winter or darkness or twenty below!"
The sanguine spring escalates into a productive, choleric summer. The momentum dies to a melancholic fall and fades into a stark phlegmatic winter. These are the ember days. These are the days we ask St. Michael to help not only with spiritual darkness and depravity, but also the reality of shorter days and falling temperatures. We need the courage to enter into the natural darkness without it snuffing our inner light.
Everyone, everyone in Minnesota seems to think the summer was way too short. And everyone also seems to have heard that this winter will be worse than the last. The dreaded dark, the cold, the twenty below, the frozen and drippy noses, the endless blanket of frozen white - I know it's coming and if there was anything I could do to halt it I would.
But the best option, always the best option, is to go outside and enjoy the now. Go out and take in the goldenrod, the milkweed, the crisp apples, violet asters, the last of the butterflies, and the golden light. Take it all in and let it sink it deeply. This is our insulation against the winter days ahead.
Helen Hunt Jackson
The goldenrod is yellow;
The corn is turning brown;
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.
The gentian's bluest fringes
Are circling in the sun;
In dusty pods the milkweed
Its hidden silk has spun.
The sedges flaunt their harvest
In every meadow nook;
And asters by the brook-side
Make asters in the brook.
From dewy lanes at morning
The grapes' sweet odors rise;
At noon the roads all flutter
With yellow butterflies.
By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer's best of weather,
And autumn's best of cheer.