Monday, October 20, 2008

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

I made it with joy. Shredded carrots, wrinkly raisins, knobby walnuts.
and sugar, which I don’t eat a lot of, and eggs, which I don’t eat at all,
flour and vanilla and applesauce. It smelled wonderful baking, and with anticipation
I drew it from the oven to share with two of my three favorite men on my birthday.

Two phones calls that morning; death had come knocking, and my day had turned.
From one, I could not share it as we had planned, they were burying their
beloved cat; from the other, Judy had drawn her last breath – late last
night…. carrot cake a favorite of hers and her son’s I knew.

Death trumped life today, and I gladly transferred the sweet and earthy
cake from my car to theirs, hoping it would say the words I could not say.
Please take it. For Judy’s sake. I love you, I loved her…
Today is not the day to celebrate; but a day to console, and death and life just don’t mix.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Flying "Birds"

Mom and I stand still with our heads bent all the way back, searching for the forms of long-winged geese flying overhead. We have heard them talking to each other in that noisy, disorganized honk-talk of theirs, and we've longed to see the group of them strung out in a wavering V. One of us spots them and our arm goes out, "There they are....", our voice falling off. It is such a beautiful sight, and yet they are leaving us. High aloft, they are excited and busy with their own lives, following their inner guidance, and here we are, feet planted on this old gravel road, beside the swamp with the goats grazing the last great grass of the year. We are not going anywhere really, only a half mile back to our little yellow house, where the season will pass and the next one will come, and then the next one, and then perhaps we will hear them again.

This year it is all the more poignant, as my son will be one of those flying birds soon enough. Even now, he's preparing his airplaine, N3538F, and the restlessness and excitement of the journey ahead is building. He will lift off, following his Inner Guidance, to go south to Bolivia, and he will be with a little group of other "birds." Their lives will not be composed of resting and feeding and waiting for a new nesting season, however. Their hands and minds will be occupied and they will feel the ache of tiredness.

I stand here, quietly looking up into the sky, watching the call of nature on the wild geese, watching the wobbling of their wings and listening to their conversations. "Come back again," I cry from inside, "My son, come back next year....."

Friday, October 3, 2008


October. The flurry of summer is over, the first frost has come and reduced our gardens. We've taken our last swim in 60 degree waters on the last weekend of September with the trees flaming orange and red all around us. The purple asters are the last flowers standing, and pumpkins, squash, and apples are the fruit of the season. Leaves are tumbling down in the autumn rains. Summer birds are hushed, and ducks gathered on the little ponds put up a nervous racket when we pass them in the dusky morning hours. No doubt we'll see our first snowflakes here in Vermont in just a few days.
We've come to a time of rest in the natural world, and the transition is breath-takingly beautiful when seen from a distance. Stunning reds, oranges and yellows in beautiful shading on individual trees and leaves. Fabulous and spectacular, whole hillsides are a-fire, and it takes our breath away. Up close, standing beneath a tree, or walking through the leaf litter, or raking them up, we see it for what it is: it's death. The sun is leaving us for great stretches at a time, and there is not enough to sustain life and growth. The leaves are dying, falling and withering. They will become part of the soil in a short time, and the trees will hibernate waiting for enough sun to come again and pull life from within them.
I feel the lack of daylight already, and have become quieter and more sober. October marks 49 years for me, and I become more aware of my place in time. There is within me a seeking for the light, every ray now, and a gutteral desire for more of the Light of my Life, more of my God who is my sunshine and warmth and who gives me growth and fruitfulness. "Do not leave me," I cry from within. Perhaps to His eyes, I am burning red right now, or full and sweet, ready to be picked. I am glad that He is God and I am not; He knows all, and makes all things beautiful in His time. Here I am, O Lord, take me.