Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"She kissed them on the nose, each one, then lifted her skirts and winked as she disappeared over the hill."

{What I'm listening to as I write. Listen along if you want the soundtrack.)

"You'll like it here — give it some time," she said over Korean bulgogi and tea. I know it, I say. Because I already am. 

Liking this place has little to do with this place, I'm realizing. It has a whole lot more to do with me. My heart. My thoughts. My willingness to be here and not just live here. Trusting that God has good for us here. Maybe it's the onset of fall, or the impending arrival of winter, but I feel this maternal instinct to make a home, settle in, be present here.

(That's not saying I'm not already daydreaming of the next road trip across North America. Can you say Banff? But that's for the summer. After the spring. After the winter. After the fall.)

For the past week, it has felt like Fall. 

All these northern winds remind me of the big, blue house on the hill. The trees that I meandered to after school, the hillsides where I read all my books in sweatshirts and mittens, the trees that became my secret keepers. I was the melodramatic 11 year old who sprawled in the high-grass fields with books and a loaf of bread with cheese. There I stayed, writing awful funny entertaining poetry (most of which I still have) until it was too cold for my fingers and toes. Mom or Ben would call from the house for dinner and I'd make my way back down the hillside to home. I was always in love with the change. I loved the way the world seemed to dance in one final song — leaves, grass, geese. Summer twirls her skirts as she skips away over the horizon. She is lovely and leaves us sun-kissed and dreamy.

It's always autumn that brings me 'round this trail again. I'm still fascinated by the change.This strange push and pull within my spirit. This beautiful, perfect season that makes me sigh with bliss while simultaneously reminding me that everything is going to die.

Everything beautiful will flourish under the sun, give one final bow toward the heavens and fall listlessly toward the darkening earth.

Yesterday, I sat on a Lake Ontario beach with the three who have become a steady part of my life here.

It's true that (so far) the best community and friendships I have ever experienced happened under Texas skies, on roads that wind from Fort Worth to Denton, to Dallas and back across the triangle, and in living rooms decorated with worn leather and stone crosses. (You'll only really understand that if you've been in any Texas home. Look for the wall of crosses. Almost every house has one.)

But it's also happening here, under a sunset-dusted September sky, hoodies pulled tight, sand under our feet. With people who were still strangers months ago. We sit and watch the sun disappear, the kiteboarders dip and ride, and there is an ease here I never even anticipated.

I feel silent (nothing new these days), grateful for a place to sit, be, and be among. I feel the leaves within my branches falling, and it's bittersweet. (Though more sweet than bitter in those moments.)

Fall is the swan song; the past stepping to the side, allowing death to come in order that something else can break into green in six months. Winter is both a burial and a cocoon. In anticipation, I feel like every day with warmth needs to be squeezed for all its worth.

This year, it feels different. The sting of all the firsts has worn off. They are all behind me now. (If you are wondering if the ache and cavernous space ever goes away, it does. It will. But that's another blog.) This year, I'm not piecing together shards. To be honest, days that used to be important are faint memories. It's weird, to be on the other side of pain. But it always happens, especially when you keep walking. When staring into the face of death, it's hard to believe that anything good can come.  But it does.

I'm thankful for autumn. For His reminders that when something dies and falls away from me, it is not failure nor does it need a funeral. It's just walking forward. When I feel the lurch of time and I gather the things into my arms that seem lost or dead, there is a beauty in this: These things are gone so that new things can grow. Suffering, heartbreak is a part of life, and if you can leave your bleeding heart open, it brings about the most natural space for beauty. Fall reminds me that nothing is permanent except for Him.

I'm thankful for the signs of things breaking off, for the moving forward, for the seasons.
So I'm counting, the things that flourish and those that may be hanging by a thread; the things that give life, the things that are gone and the room for the new.

Counting.. (210-227)
:: earlier sunsets that make home more inviting in the autumn.
:: for forgotten pain.
:: the smell of a campground at dawn.
:: campfires.
:: down blankets.
:: pumpkin spice candles.
:: apple picking.
:: my sister's voice on the other end of the phone.
:: fresh, warm cider donuts.
:: the sound of kids playing in low-hanging pine trees.
:: the lake in september.
:: rooftops out our windows that make me think of Mary Poppins.
:: korean food and a friend to share it with.
:: crazy Asian food market with every spice I could ever desire.
:: good people in my life.
:: the sound of a guitar in my living room late at night
:: the songs that come from someone else's hands, heart, mouth.
:: a beautiful daughter who is changing my world daily.

Linking up:


  1. I love how your words meander. The mornings here in Texas are getting cooler, but the thought of wear hats like your little one are still far away. But seeing life reborn out of death is happening here, as the fires finally die down, the ashes moved away, clearing the path for that which will spring up again.

    Everything is a season, and even when that season is dark, new light, His light, will come again.

    Beautiful words here, Andrea...Next week perhaps you could debut the awful funny poetry!

  2. Jen — thanks. this was quite a meandering blog. i haven't stopped thinking about y'all and all the fires. i'm so glad that He always brings new though...no matter what. And maaaybe i'll post the poetry. it would be comical ;)