And the seasons they go round and round

seasons change3 - 1

10.26.19

Golden days have lingered, since our return from the coast this past Monday.  I’ve witnessed several of them from my bed or the couch, after a bad reaction to either the flu or pneumonia vaccine, which I obviously shouldn’t have done at the same time.  I think I had every symptom I found on Dr. Google except that I could still breathe and wasn’t having seizures!  I spent the time, when I was awake, feeling sorry for myself for missing the last of these spectacular days, or feeling fearful, after too much screen time looking at the dreadful news of the day, certain that our institutions might crumble under this president.  One day–I guess after another software update on my phone–photos I’d taken ten years ago on that date popped up on my screen.  There were the very first photos of Gary and Chatpeau, tiny kittens who mysteriously appeared on our porch.  We’ve guessed they were maybe six or seven years old by now, but somehow lost track of the time.  I almost sent Sarah a photo of now-gone Gary, but I knew it would make her sad.  But, she would have appreciated seeing that he eventually grew into those big ears.  Scrolling through the decade-old photo album, there was little Anna in her witch costume, in front of the kitchen table with all the Halloween decorations, at the start of Joy’s annual party.  In autumn, that west-facing room had the most beautiful golden, glowing light.  Now, their house has sold and the family will be moving into a little Airbnb for a month, before they leave to spend half a year in Finland.  I bundled up in blankets and sat on the porch one bright and sunny late afternoon, to give Chatpeau some company, and looked around at all the wicker furniture we had yet to put away before the upcoming winter storm and single digit temperatures, and I missed summer which seemed forever ago.  Don came out and I told him I was sad, and he said he was too, and then he went to refill my hot water bottle, and things felt a little better.

Yesterday, I arose from the ashes and we had a lovely afternoon walk along the river trail, in 65 degrees.  The Tamaracks (Larix occidentalis) were in full golden display and lined the blue water, snow-capped peaks in the background.  The wind blew the remaining aspen leaves sideways, and a garter snake slithered across the trail, forsaking his winter hole.  I thought of the trees we were with last week-end in Bellingham, and how the temperate rainforest of the Olympic Peninsula is so uniquely beautiful.  To be there in autumn in misty rain, is another one of those Irish thin places.  I think one of my favorite moments with Fletcher was when he spent the afternoon giving us a campus tour, all three of us with the hoods pulled up on our Gore-Tex raincoats.   When we got to Old Main, we walked next to the Arboretum, its hillside nestled next to the oldest building on campus, and filled with reds and yellows and every shade of green, all glistening in the mist.  He pointed up to his math class on the fifth floor of the building, and said that his favorite time of day is to walk out the door after class, and feel what it feels like next to the forest.  I like to think that, perhaps, there is something of me in my grandson’s DNA.

We got all the porch furniture put away into the boat house.  All is buttoned now up.  As we watched the World Series from the library, the sun slipped beneath the clouds and filled the empty space on the porch, and bathed the house in golden light.  It felt as if our home was filling up with all the light and warmth it will need for the next long winter ahead.

The Circle Game, by Joni Mitchell

Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star

Then the child moved ten times round the seasons
Skated over ten clear frozen streams
Words like when you’re older must appease him
And promises of someday make his dreams

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game 

Sixteen springs and sixteen summers gone now
Cartwheels turn to car wheels thru the town
And they tell him take your time it won’t be long now
Till you drag your feet to slow the circles down

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty
Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There’ll be new dreams maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

 

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