I have been blessed in my life to witness Seasons Changing all over the US…from the West Coast beaches to the expansive Southwest deserts to the Deep South to the East Coast, to Canada and back to the Pacific Northwest!!
But I got completely spoiled a couple of years ago right here in my neighborhood when I accidentally discovered the most glorious Autumn display I have ever seen.
I was simply driving out a different driveway than usual from my Home Depot parking lot…and there it was. So fantastic, I made 5 or 6 trips in the following weeks to try to capture this Color Extravaganza in all its stages. On cold dark days, in the pouring rain, in the blinding sunlight (that’s how we experience sunlight up here…blinding), sunrise, sunset, and always with both my cameras! I even gave it a name and told all my friends and neighbors to go see it.
I’ve posted on it before but here are some photos to enjoy. Believe me, it’s not even close to walking the block-long side walk in front of “The Wonder Wall”!
Not driving by. You have to stand in front of it and feel the thrum of color and growth, right there in front of you! Just pretend…and see if you can hear it….feel the colors.
I’ve been missing from the Blogosphere for a while…a little distracted by everyday life…and a few relatively minor “first world” problems…well, they will seem minor someday, I’m sure…
A small leak, needing a plumber to fix it…but in my wonderful, century-old house, it was a $30,000 to $40,000 job!!! The exact death knell for my home I’ve been dreading for 45 years.
Luckily, James is a genius and figured out the $5,000 to $7,000 version that buys us some more years here. He has done an amazing job of creative plumbing, as well as a “might as well do it now” kitchenette remodel for the tiny basement apartment we live in here. We shifted down so my son and growing grandsons could live upstairs where the ceilings heights are normal. That way, they don’t end up with banged heads and visits to the chiropractor from all the ducking it required for them down here.
It’s been distracting and stressful.
Why is it that when I go camping, some bottled water, a freshwater stream and maybe the luxury of a porta-potty are more than enough. But no running water in my home for 8 or 9 days is enough to send me over some edge I didn’t know existed. That means no dish washing or shower or laundry or certain kinds of cooking, or the biggie, no TOILET all this time.
I do have to say, James and the guys made sure MY bathroom was up and running first. I claimed it as mine when we first moved downstairs. I decorated it perfectly for my taste, all aqua and frilly, and have called it the “Girl Bathroom” ever since. The guys have two other bathrooms, but in our current crisis, their’s are not restored to a usable state yet…so I’m sharing.
Have I mentioned I live with SIX MEN?
Having NOT grown up, or lived for any length of time in a Third World situation, I am now way too old to haul my own water. This current situation has highlighted, LOUDLY, how amazing it is, and how lucky we are to have fresh, running water…and these days, with the new faucets and such, you can literally just wave your hand, and voila, clean, hot or cold running water,
I tell you what, I am now Matt Damon’s biggest fan.
There are the other, expected construction zone inconveniences of course.
I mean, below is my living room.
These piles will be cleared up eventually, and I can see the beginnings of a real kitchenette, after more than 40 years of makeshift counters, shelves, and a 1930’s enameled, cast-iron sink and drawer unit, grabbed from an old Seattle apartment building destruction. Most of the college students and single Mom’s I’ve rented to over the years thought it was “cool”.
Out with the old…
But in the mean time, I cherish my outside moments each day even more than usual.
And sent just for me to brighten my day, look who I found while watering my Fuchsia.
This Mama Oregon Junco has had her own plumbing problems lately because I have been soaking this plant (and her nest) every day for a couple of weeks now…and yet, here she still is….
I knew the exact photo immediately, but I keep this particular one hidden from myself, so I had to search through my files. It’s been almost four years and I still grieve a little every day.
They went from this…
And this is the last photo of them as a family…
PS In case it would be of support to anyone reading this, here is what we use in therapy to help folks walk thorough Endings, in the healthiest way possible. Handy to use for closure in any and all Endings, big or small…job, moving, school, relationships, pets, favorite restaurant closing, new phone, etc.
This is worth exploring and expressing in all its forms…denial, wishful thinking, false hopes, etc.
It takes some practice but being able to express a truly personalized resentment, without any finger pointing or blame toward another, is a valuable, life-long skill
It’s important to acknowledge the things you wish you could have done differently
Remembering the good times is the natural pathway to the 3 stages below. It is why we tell funny stories at funerals.
Release and Relief
There is always a whoosh of peace after wading through the painful parts of grieving an ending
Now true gratitude can happen, for the whole experience, even the hard lessons that usually come from an ending.
To be able to re-unite after an ending, even if just in your mind, without a bunch of leftover baggage, is really and truly possible.
These are the natural stages of all endings.
In order to have healthy beginnings, with no leftovers lingering to muddy the new waters, these phases must be experienced and honored…
not necessarily in this order, but finishing the first four
FIRST, here is a music video to play, softly, in the background as you scroll down to read this. ALL the words are not quite right but the sentiment of the chorus is perfect.
I walk up and down my long, dead end street (the equivalent of about three city blocks) 2 or 3 times, every day, all year round. Not very far for an athlete but a good number of steps for me.
I love my neighborhood. And I love to take pictures of the things I see.
I have a favorite tree…
This tree is huge, old, lush and glorious. I love to stand under her when it’s pouring down rain. You can stay completely dry and the sound of those heavy drops smacking her leaves and then bouncing off is amazing!
My neighborhood is changing so much these days. One by one, the older homes are being flattened, in order to be replaced with huge and mostly beautiful new houses.
My son grew up (part time) in the “yellow house”, two doors away. They had a pool, and a kid exactly his age. For a time, when the neighborhood was full of young, single Mom’s, we would babysit each other’s kids and on Friday nights, we Mom’s would have a “progressive” relaxation evening. We’d go from one house to the next, to the next, for snacks, and wine. Among us, we had an outdoor Sauna, a hot tub, a pool and we’d finish at my house on my deck. I had the best view of the sunset.
Other great families have lived in the yellow house too over the years, but…..it has been the next one to bite the dust.
What a back ho and dozer can do to a home on purpose, in just 2 days, is exactly the same thing we see on the news, someone living in Tornado Alley, whose home gets flattened in minutes.
Yellow House…….. gone…
I get this, intellectually, but I have so much judgment about it…the waste, the destruction of usable space, and the loss of history. At least, this builder is big into recycling, re-purposing, and replanting. He (and the owners) saved as many bushes and plants as possible and offered them to the neighbors.
But to me, personally, what is way more painful, is murder of the trees. I know that’s a dramatic (and controversial) way to say it, but what else can you call killing a huge living thing that’s been here since before you were born??
I’ve written about this before…kind of like eulogies, but I think each one of these ancient stately beings deserves at least that much when they are taken down.
There is a young, mystery ecologist on the street and I’m just sure she wrote this sign the day the heavy equipment showed up at the yellow house…and she pinned it to my favorite tree.
but they didn’t….
So disrespectful of her remains…
I will miss her so much, and I am committed to working on understanding the perceived necessity of her demise.
This may be all that’s left of her…
But THIS is how I will remember her!
After the Queen interlude, see if you can put yourself all the way in the following short video…so you can meet my friend. Volume UP! (You may have to scroll up and down while viewing to see the whole thing.)