Coming home today, suitcase and school bag in hand, Nora in the minivan refusing to get out, I notice the unopened blooms on the morning glory that had wound its way around my porch rails had turned a purple black. The hard frost is here and before I had time to get the last of the grape tomatoes from the vine. How many gifts go unseen because we are too busy to accept them?
The trees and bulbs pull themselves back down into the ground, the energy condensing into a tiny core that will keep warm until Spring, somehow. I don't understand this magic. But I feel like them. A little spacey.
I'm hesitating lately to speak because I'm not certain. This might be a gift, but I have to be willing to enter that strange, not-knowing space that usually means God is working something out for me that I don't understand yet. This is not always easy work, and I felt it yesterday after breaking down, examining the carpet a little too closely as I waited until I heard the "get up and go" kick back in, and I moved to the first task God gave me: unloading the dishwasher. Something simple. This is good. I don't have to have all the answers. I just have to keep my hands wrapped around a good thing from one moment to the next. And this is how the future unfolds, with us holding its hand as it curls around us, brings us home and back out again. Calling us in, releasing us again, the blooms turning black while we sleep, then trees on fire as the sun rises and ignites them, and I feel like a surprised guest for some reason.
And then I feel like I should write some letter that would go like:
Well, we sure have been busy here! Fall semester is over half over, and Nora and I have grown 2 or 3 inches in just the last few months. The garden is gone and I miss, more than I can articulate or acknowledge, the work out there. Maybe I'll find time to do some raking and clean-up--something physical because I'm a pretty simple creature who craves silence and leaves and space and manual labor. I don't think I read enough. But then I remember that Nora and I read every night for at least a half hour, sometimes more if she can convince me to "read it again!" I can't tell if she's trying to trick me into staying up later. What can I say? I teach literature. Am I really going to tell her we can't read another book? Actually, yeah. I'm pretty tired tonight. There are many emails that will need to wait until tomorrow because I'm half awake and want to be sure I get it right. Other than that, I'd like to sew a new curtain for the bathroom, maybe cook a few slow cooked stews over the weekend, organize the deep freeze...watch some PBS.
PS: Christmas is shining like the star in the sky that Holy night in my mind, and I look toward it with hope and comfort and the clarity of a winter night so still.