Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
- “Landslide” – Fleetwood Mac
I’ve heard the cicadas and the crickets singing for a few weeks now. The black walnut and sweet gum trees are shedding their leaves. Summer’s fading. Autumn is coming.
My husband returned to school to teach this week. As I was packing his lunch bucket a few days ago, I realized that I’d forgotten to wash the chip container before I’d stored it away for the summer. Then it hit me – the last day he used it was the day our world crashed three months ago. The container, along with so many other of my usual summer chores, was shoved aside and neglected.
My entire summer feels like a blink. Time and the world have marched on when I’ve wanted it to stop. It’s been occupied by tears, uncertainty, frustrated and soul-searching journaling, appointments, and questions that don’t have answers. The first time off from work I’ve had in two years was spent planning a funeral instead of managing sleepless nights and feedings like it was originally intended. It feels like a week, not three months.
But I’m grateful that summer is my grieving season. Feeling the sun on my shoulders while hanging laundry on the line or watching the chickens scratch around in the yard has been a balm for my soul.
Our small garden this year has been a source of comfort. Hoeing it to tame the weeds is one of the few things I can do that makes my brain completely shut up because I’m too busy concentrating on not wacking off my toes with the hoe to think about anything else. Sometimes I talk to God while I’m weeding, hoping he’s working on the figurative weeds in my life while I’m trying to work on the literal ones.
I see life mirrored in the garden. The leaves on my sunflowers are marked with the holes made by hungry insects, yet they still manage to thrive, grow taller than me, and bloom despite the adversity. Their seeds I planted went through a complete destruction before they transformed into something beautiful.
When the autumn comes, the sunflowers will wither and die. The trees will lose their leaves and go to sleep in a blaze of color. I will face “first” milestones that won’t be what they should. I pray that the little flicker of hope I have will turn into a blossoming spring and I will thrive just like my sunflowers when summer comes again.