I am trying to find my way back to this place. The path had become overgrown and full of weeds and I simply turned away, tired and dirty, to wait for the start of something new. There is only a tiny clearing in the path now, but the light is changing and there is a bit of freshness in the air and it gives me hope to try again. I’ll start easy, with thoughts of my summer.
If a summer could be bipolar, this was it. It was brimful of alternating cycles of good and not-so-good, all mixed up with days of hot temperatures and no rain. Scientists in Boulder say that the ice in the Arctic has melted further this year than in any other year of recorded measure. The heat here in Colorado broke records too. Frankly, I am not suited for it.
But the hot days of summer brought amazing joy in the form of a new granddaughter, Clara Mary, who is named for my mother’s mother and for my mother. She arrived healthy and happy, a few weeks early but precisely on the third birthday of her sister Anna. Exciting birthday parties ahead.
Fourth of July was spent at our Lucky Dog Ranch, where my grandson Jacob took his first ATV ride and inched ever closer to walking the line as any young cowboy should do.
My granddaughter Anna leapt with zeal and maybe some faith as we spent hours together in the water. It brought back memories of the times that my brothers and sister and I spent with my mother in the pool. Mom, who was afraid of water and had never had a lesson in her life, taught all four of us to swim.
I shared a plot at the community garden again this summer. Would you care for some zucchini bread? It was hard and hot work this year but as it is when labor is over and the baby is sucking at momma’s breast, the harvest makes it all worth it.
The flip side to these joys were the fires in Colorado, devastating, destructive and frightening disasters that consumed lives and took away resources that will never be regained. And there was the highly unnatural disaster of a gunman in a dark theatre, a tragedy that was even more frightening and which shook the equilibrium of all.
A good part of my summer was spent in blazing hot Kansas City, where my mother continues her fight with advanced cancer. With renewed connection, we four kids teamed up to help my mother and my father as her disease progressed. We helped her to move into a caring facility about the time of she and my father’s 59th wedding anniversary. We watched my father face the unknown and unhoped-for circumstance of being home alone. Despite challenges and much sadness, many good things have come of this. We prize the time we have with her and continue, daily, to admire her grace, dignity and strength.
Forrest Gump said his momma always said that life is like a box of chocolates, that you never know what you are going to get. This was a summer of very sweet and very bitter-to-the-taste sort of experiences. I guess you might say I got caught with my mouth full, so stuffed by both the good and the bad that I simply had to stop and swallow. I stayed away from the page for a while and missed the balance that I get from writing and the buzz I get from reading blogs and connecting with the fine people who write them. I do know that I have a bad habit of withdrawing when the chocolates in the box go stale. It’s good to try again, to reach right in and see what comes up. And to remember, sooner or later, I’m bound to grab the chocolate covered cherry again.