“There is no need to bewail the declining years. Autumn is a glorious season in its own right, and as pleasant as summer to spend in the garden. The weather has to remain kind for this to come true, but the same can be said of any month or season…A gale in September may leave sad, tattered remnants in its wake, but if the weather mends, the garden still retains enough resilience itself to mend.” –Christopher Lloyd, Twelve Months of Monastery Soups
We arrived back from California, late in the day yesterday, in a gentle rain. Valerie, understanding my call to home, texted me to be sure and let her know when we had arrived “home sweet home”. As I always do upon arrival, I searched for the kitties (they are safe) and walked along the rocky beach and to the end of the dock. While we’d been gone just four nights, the lake level had dropped, leaving the motorboat totally out of the water. It looked like a hapless beached whale. The sailboat bobbed forlornly, the only remaining boat in view on the lake. After all the heat and that horrific smoke, I bewailed that summer was over and actually broke into tears.
I pretty much kept at it all morning as I unpacked and puttered around. I took the toy sailboats off the mantle and replaced them with my velvet pumpkin collection, sniffling as Montana Public Radio played James Taylor’s “September Grass”, Judy Collins’ “To Everything there is a Season”, and a reading of Mary Oliver’s poem “Wild Geese”, which always brings me to tears with her words, “you don’t have to be good.” I have a friend who says she just doesn’t know if she can keep both a summer home and a winter home, because she can no longer bear saying goodbye when she leaves. I told her that now that we are in our declining years, maybe it’s just gonna be like this, and probably get a whole lot worse, as we say so many goodbyes in our time ahead.
Making soup is always a remedy for such sweet melancholy, so I turned to my Monastery Soups recipes for the month of September. When I returned from the grocery store, the lake was utterly still and quiet and velvet blue, so I went out in my kayak and paddled south in sunlight and shadow. Just me and the waterfowl on a glorious late September afternoon until it was time to come home and make wild rice soup for dinner. So, I am home at last, on a day in which the weather has remained ever so kind to me.