This blog has fallen silent because school has begun, both for me and for the teenager in my home. The flurry of shopping for clothes, supplies, and books has died down, and now the earnest part of learning fills my days.
It’s probably a good thing to be learning, to read unfamiliar works (Systematic Theology 1), write an unfamiliar alphabet (I’m taking Biblical Greek), and stride from bus to class to bus to train to office to home and so forth. Otherwise I would feel more acutely the sorrow of summer’s fading.
Yes, I love the spicy aroma of the autumn air. Yes, colors all over the city are sharper and deeper, and the sky’s light is more clear and yet more distant. I love these beauties and always have. In fact, my creative juices surge a bit every autumn, along with my energy.
But the days have shortened. The summer blooms that have twinkled from grass and shrub are fading now, losing their rich hues and giving off the faint scent of decay. My garden leans to one side and sheds yellow leaves even as the peppers and tomatoes continue to grow plump. I have harvested coriander seeds from the stringy cilantro plant, and the basil has turned into the Bush that Ate the Other Herbs. At this point, I don’t tie up vines or deal with weeds but simply pluck whatever fruit ripens enough to eat.
We still sleep on pallets on the porch, only now we snuggle down with blankets and enjoy the chill that is still bearable; it feels sort of like camping out, only more comfortable. The pets think we’re being silly. Bones and Little Buddha the cats retire each evening to the indoor beds meant for us humans, burrowing into our pillows and comforters. Nala and Buddy the dogs are, well, dogs; they stay with the pack and sleep on the cushioned porch loungers beside us. But if one of us moves indoors during the night, to escape the cold of 2 a.m. or to situate an aching back on the better mattress, within moments both dogs have abandoned their posts to lie around the bed inside. This means that some mornings Jim wakes up alone, but he will likely tough it out until the weather forces us to reinstall the glass panes and pack up the lawn furniture.
And now my days begin in the dark, and each morning I pack what books I need. Usually I’m lugging along the laptop and snacks. This is work. It is my work, during this particular autumn in my life. I’m past fifty but live the nomadic existence of student, along with keeping the “regular” habits of a professional—attending meetings, meeting deadlines, solving problems, participating with my community of colleagues.
The creative journey nearly always includes the willingness to rise and work, even when the work seems too difficult or too extensive, even when it seems that such work would better suit a younger, more exciting person. But here I am, lugging and reading, writing and meeting, rising and resting. Amen.