Monday, October 17, 2005

Embracing Change



You smell it in the air - a tang that was not there only a week or so ago.  The breeze is a little sharper, the nights more crisp and perhaps a bit more clear.  The chirp of the crickets diminishes by almost imperceptible degrees each night - portending the silence to come.

The sound of acorns randomly bouncing off the deck adds a staccato beat to life - and the movements of creatures large and small outside the window appear more furtive, more purposeful.

The earth prepares for slumber in a thousand small ways - and all who call her home make their own preparations as well.

I walk amidst the turning trees and absorb the changes all around me.  My heart laments the passing warmth of days, but welcomes the cool refreshment of the nights to come, the quiet contentment of a crackling fire, the imminent blaze of nature's color all around us - the anticipation of the quiet awe of the first unblemished snow.

Life changes around us every day.  If we try to hold to the past and the now, we miss what the future holds or at least fail to appreciate it.  All too soon, our own time of endless slumber will arrive - we do ourselves and all in our lives a disservice if we do not accept and embrace each change until then.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A Passing




I lost an old friend yesterday.  She wasn't a person, but she was important in my life in a special way.


I am blessed to live surrounded by nature's beauty.  My home is nestled into a ring of wooded acreage. Although close to people and the services that help make everyday life bearable, it is possible to feel and believe that one is alone with one's thoughts and the beauty of God's creation.  The curtains are never closed for there is no one near enough to look in and I choose never to place a barrier between me and the ever-changing wonders just outside the windows.


One of those wonders has always been a lovely Hickory tree outside the bedroom window.  Each morning, she would be the first thing I would see as sleep fell from my eyes and the world came into focus.  I found that when I traveled I missed her calming presence - and I always looked forward to the moment when she would greet me the morning I returned.


She was a sturdy tree, blooming a bit later than most but stubbornly holding her leaves almost a full month after those of others had burst into color, faded and fallen gently to the earth.  But her tenacity was also her downfall, for when early ice or snow fell heavily, her branches, still laden with leaves, would sometimes buckle under the weight - and I would watch helplessly as major limbs were torn from her sides.


Twice over the years her shape was altered in such manner, and each time I would treat her wounds and learn to love the new face she presented to the world.


This past Spring, however, she endured the worst indignity to her proud form yet.  I tried to tell myself that she would survive, but something inside me made me treasure her presence each morning a little more.  As Winter now undeniably approaches, I sighed in the realization that she would not survive another harsh season - and yesterday I bit my lip and lovingly brought her down to earth.


This morning, the dawn came as it relentlessly does.  But something was missing when I cast my first glance through the window.  Where she always stood was what appeared to me a gaping void, although others would never notice her absence.  There was a small emptiness inside me, but I pictured her in my mind - as I know I always will, no matter how long I live, or where.


Soon, however, she will warm me once more - and something tells me her heat will be just a little more intense, her flames just a little brighter than any of the rest. 




I am a man blessed in many ways.  I have people in my life who love me despite my many flaws.  I have friends who have stood the test of time and those who may not yet have the longevity of years, but who add value to my life and smiles to my heart.  I have health and the blessing that with age also comes a kind of wisdom.  I am blessed to be able to see the beauty in simple things and the best in people - and to appreciate both and never take them for granted.  I am also blessed in ways that may not normally be considered blessings, but we will talk of them at another time.


As this document grows and breathes and takes on a life of its own, I will hope to share bits of life with you - simple truths, lessons learned, life in its raw power, sheer emotion, cacophony of voices and messages and opinions, and perhaps an example or two of the indomitable nature of the human spirit as it unfolds before me, demonstrated by family, friends, even strangers.


This will not be a mere chronicle of events - the mundane details of my existence are best left unshared (unless of course you're looking for a sure cure for insomnia). Rather, I hope to share with you stories of this life's journey - and hope that perhaps my experiences, thoughts and words may strike a chord in your life from time-to-time as well.


Let's see where this takes us - let the journey begin......