Autumn is Here

The Next-door Treat Map is back.

Trunk-or-Treat will park on Hughson Ave on October 29.

The Hughson Arboretum is holding its first Fall Festival on November 6.

We’ll go there after stopping at Vintage at the Yard.

The Community Thanksgiving Dinner is handing out Thanksgiving meals on November 13.

We learned some ways to cope with life as it changed in March of 2020. We learned ways to gather apart from the usual means and traditions. We experienced stress and had to find ways to cope with new stress. We found ways to support our neighbors and their businesses when they were forced to close.

I mean, I hope we learned a lot.

The strange thing for me, to be perfectly honest, is that the last two years were less of a crisis than the two years that began six years ago this month. That was the month when the path my family and I traveled altered forever. It was the day of a diagnosis. It was a day of grief and coping and processing all the changes that would take place.

I processed for 19 more weeks before I met my son. At the moment, he is riding in a borrowed pick-up with his father/my husband to pick up lumber for our kitchen shelves.

As at the beginning of 2020, the crisis in our lives began in degrees. In 2020, it was a news story here and there, inexplicable flu, or strange rumors. In 2015, We received the diagnosis, an appointment in San Francisco and found a good Facebook group for support.

But then it came and it walloped us. Our son was admitted to the hospital and things got scary. In 2020, the world shut down. It was no longer just the naturally driven crisis of a novel coronavirus running rampant across the globe, but schools were closed, businesses were closed, churches were closed. The fabric of our society was shut down. Life went digital and thanks to the social network’s algorithm, the divisions between us were heightened. All the old ways of coping were taken away.

And in 2016, I lived in the hospital beside my son, away from my other children, my husband and my home.

The hospital chaplain at the time, now a family friend came to visit us last week. He shared that he could see now why I was so homesick back then, what I was homesick for. Not just the home, but the responsibilities. I was homesick for the pattern of life built into my heart, stretched across relationships and duties to my children. I am a wife and a mother and I was homesick for the loss of all that as I sat beside my son in a place that was not my home, learning to be a mother in new and terrifying ways.

But I learned.

In 2020, we learned to gather outside more often, to embrace the good weather. We learned to use curbside pick-up. We learned to forgive when anxiety got the best of the people we love.

After two years, our storm calmed, and in 2017, I took the lessons I learned from the hospital and brought them home. Our lives changed forever. My mothering changed forever. And I am better for it.

Right now, the world wavers a little as it opens back up. We navigate the ways between those who wish to keep caution and closures and those who are ready for a new phase, any phase, to begin.

What lessons are you going to bring with you? What memories can you keep that reveal that in all the crises, some good can be found? What relationships have grown, been healed or are now restored that you can see differently?

It would be so easy to just “go back to normal” but we’re called to more than that.

Autumn is a time of tradition and reflection. In this particular neck of the woods, we see our farms haul in their harvest while our gardens revive after the scorching summer. Fire seasons wanes and we wake to blue skies again.

Hold on to what you have learned. Savor the return of things you lost. And take it into this next season of life.

Photo by Oliver Hihn on Unsplash

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