The Fall of the Leaf

birch leaves hanging on

birch leaves hanging on

It’s the first really cold weather this week, and there are very few leaves left on the trees. From my window I can see the dark slopes of the distant hills, the magpies in the orchard , and even – if I lean out sideways, the snow on the Trossachs. It’s a bare and austere outlook, but it has a certain clarity and a sense of openness and distance.

Which isn’t too inappropriate for the place I am in just now. Life has changed a lot over the last couple of years. One minute we had all our children flown the nest and establishing themselves elsewhere. Now two of them are very close, and we are heavily involved in their lives. Both my husband and I have reached significant ages, and we are thinking of retirement. Some of us have been ill, and some of us are not getting better any time soon. The way we have been living isn’t going to work for us much longer. A lot of illusions have falllen away in the last twelve moths. A lot of hopes and ambitions have had to be let go.

It sounds like a bad time, and I won’t pretend it hasn’t had its moments! But it hasn’t been all darkness and disappointment. I have discovered some tremendous gifts and richness in my life, just waiting for me to pay attention. It’s been a time of pruning back, but also greater fruitfulness, and it has brought a lot of unexpected comfort and reassurance, in the closeness of family relationships, the making of new friendships, the deepening of old ones,, and even, occasionally and most unexpectedly, in the helpfulness of institutions. I have a new clarity about what is important in my life, in my writing, and in my home environment.

I expect that we will have to leave this house where we have lived for over thirty years. I don’t expect to be gardening the way I do here for much longer. But I do expect to be writing, readng, blogging and thinking even more when other activities lessen. Winter may be dark and bare but it’s a great time for vision, and for renewal!

 

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