I've been watching these maple trees since the day we moved in. They are old, and strong and beautiful. I wonder who planted them and just how long they have stood. And I wonder about all the many seasons of change they have stood by. I realized this weekend that they have become my hourglass of sorts to this very season of time we are in right now. That slowly, as their leaves first filled with color, and then as they began to drop, this autumn season has been moving by, and they have been telling me time.
Someone who recently walked through here lightly tossed out some words that have stuck with me in recent days. Was it an uncle? My father? It likely was. It was as simply said (with a knowing smile) as, "Fall will never be long enough for you now."
That truth has crept into our every day, and as the leaves continue to fall, into our every hour as the sense of urgency increases. Surely (we remind ourselves) this year is extreme - we've just gotten settled and there is so much to do -that we've only had a month to begin. Each day I cross as many things off the list that are 'done' as I do things that we've decided there's no realistic time for. So yes, of course, this year is exceptional. But those words also remind me that this time of year inevitably carries with it that sense of urgency - no matter whom or when. Each and every year, this is the scramble, the rush before the long season of winter, before we are blanketed in snow and this kind of work comes to a halt.
And so, we keep going. Joined by the children once in a while. Cutting wood, stacking wood, digging one more fence post while we still can, tightening up the house we are just getting to know, and otherwise 'battening down the hatches' for the season to come.
This weekend, as I was walking from the firepit that my chilly children had abandoned for the comfort and warmth of inside, I looked at those maple trees once again and noted that more leaves had fallen than remained. Soon, I thought. Soon, we will be mostly gathered inside - hopefully warm and cozy, with a season full of family, fire, food, and friends ahead of us. There will be crafting, reading, daydreaming about the spring, and much togetherness as we settle into our first winter home.
We like this work. I'm grateful for the way it demands our togetherness in fresh open crisp air. I'm grateful for the way it gets our hands dirty and our hearts pumping. I'm grateful for the way this work will keep us warm, cozy and together this coming season. I'm grateful to those trees for keeping time for me with such beauty and grace. And I'm grateful, as always, to these little ones, for whom play and work interchange so beautifully no matter what the season.
Here's wishing you all the play there is to be found amidst the work of your season.