A journal of healing

Archive for the ‘fall’ Category

Fall endings

It was a wonderful summer. It was the first summer I have had off since I was a high school teacher. I thought I would be bored, but I was far from it. I probably did more reading than I have done since I was in college. I also had one of the best gardens I have ever had. I had time to water and weed it and I was constantly tending to the plants. But now fall is upon us and I must say good-bye to the garden for the winter.

This is very difficult for me to do. I hate watching the plants wither and die. We have not had a frost yet, but when we do, the impatiens that are left will be melted in the morning. The squirrels have been burying nuts in the pots and so many of the plants are already destroyed. I think all the nut planting is a sign we are going to have a tough winter.

The trees are just starting to drop their leaves. The yard is completely private with the canopy of shrubs and trees. It will feel so exposed soon.

But I know that this is the cycle of life. We all come into the world for a short period of time. The purpose is to spread joy and make the world a better place. I think this is a life purpose of all things. I also believe everything has a spirit and we are all connected. I feel very connected to my garden and all the animals that live and visit in it.

This fall is going to be very difficult for one of my friends. Her husband has just been diagnosed with end stage cancer. There is no hope, no future.  He will be here for only a very short time. He is in the fall of his life.

I have been thinking about my friend and her husband constantly. What would I do if I was her? What would I do if I was him? Getting a diagnosis like end stage anything is horrible. She has been so strong and I hope she knows she is surrounded with love. I wonder though how I would feel if I was told I had a month to six to live. What would I do with the time?  How angry would I be?

I have spent time in quiet reflection just thinking about that question of what would I do? My mind cannot process it. I have even discussed it with my husband and we both came up with a few lame ideas, mostly travel. But what if I could not travel either?

Reality hit me square in the eyes. We should all live like we are in the fall of our lives, because in essence, we are all dying. We should not live with the concept of ignoring that fact nor should we give up because of the inevitable end.

We should live with gusto and a fullness of life every day. It means embracing every moment because each one is special and it will never be the same. We should celebrate ourselves and our relationships because they are work we have done. Life is full of ups and downs and the fact that we have survived the ride is success in itself. Nothing comes into this world without leaving an imprint somewhere.

 

Leaf Peeping

tree2016 The trees are slow to change this year. Fall has taken its time and  has been very rainy. We usually spend Saturdays going for rides and stopping at markets to purchase apples and squash.

mums-2016 With everything going on with his family and his mother, we had limited opportunity to get out and shop.

leaves-down-10-30-16  The garden is slowly being covered by leaves. smoke-on-fence When the sun hit our fence the morning after our first frost it looked like it was on fire. I knew the impatiens would soon be melted and the rest of the plants would suffer. Fall marks the demise of the garden and all the nurturing ends.        impatiens-oct-16 fall-garden-10-2016bear-garden  The resident doves were gone but visit with the other small animals who frequent the garden.

group-1   One of the things I dislike about fall is deer hunting. There really is no need for it. I do not get the concept of killing for pleasure, even if you eat the meat. You have to be extra careful driving around here.

close-call-deersafe-deer

Last Sunday we went for a ride to Letchworth State Park. It was packed with people looking at the leaves and the aftermath of a lot of rain.

scarredgloomy-clouds

At the beginning of the Park is a dam that stops the Genesee River from flooding all the way to Rochester. There are always big buzzards and eagles that fly around. The gorge behind it is the park. You cannot hike down  in the gorge but there are many beautiful spots to stop and enjoy from the top.

damdam-birdslet  There are series of falls in the park. This is my favorite, the middle falls. letchworth-middle-falls-2016

We had our harvest moon. harvest-moon-2016

My last roses bloomed. roses-from-garden  Now we will slowly put the garden ornaments away and I will bring in a few plants to winter. I still sit out, even in the snow.         garden-lampafter-snow-2016proch-chairs-fall-2016

The kids love the cooler weather and playing in the leaves.

smells-10-16be-boy-10-16

Fall is very beautiful. It is not my favorite time of the year as I hate what comes next.   brilliant-leaves-2016backyard snow 2-16-16

 

 

Midsummer Dreams

Nightview 2015

The light has shifted ever so slightly in the garden at night. I have been doing an epic battle to keep everything hydrated. But even so, things are crisp or wilted. My glorious ferns are gone and the grass is brown and crunchy. The trees in their deprived state are dropping leaves early. I fear for how brown our fall will be this year.

I am not good with the heat. The other night, the little air conditioner in our bedroom could not overcome the heat and it was still 80 in the room. I find myself longing for a storm or two. I realize I could never live somewhere that was sunny perpetually.

I spend my last hours of the day in the garden readying from my Kindle. It’s so dry that the bugs and mosquitos are less and so the light does not attract them. I finished a non-fiction book intended to reflect on what it is like to live with PTSD. It was a story of woman who was raped by her boyfriend over a period of times when she was 16. She lived with his threats and never told anyone. The book revolves around her growing up and dealing with the ramifications. She is splinter from her family, her own choice, and ends up as a disenfranchised woman living in a hovel.

Although the book explained about triggers it was not a good representation of what it is like to live PTSD. The woman in the story goes to a psychiatrist and is “healed” by simple breathing methods and other mindful exercises. She meets a man and life goes on off into the sunset. Although the authors attempt to help bring awareness, I think she misrepresents the truth.

People do not ever heal from PTDS. They learn to cope. And while some are better than others, it still can rear its ugly head at any moment. Triggers come from everywhere. I was reading where a female soldier (nurse) who had PTSD after being in Nam was fine for years. Then she moved to a new area to work at a hospital. She started having horrible flashbacks and attacks. She could not figure it out when on a very still night she heard the sound of a chopper flying to the landing pad at the hospital. It was not the first flight since she moved there. Normally it was noisy with other ambient sounds and this was so subtle she never paid attention. But her ears did. They heard and she would start to have panic attacks.

The shift in light for me is a trigger. I am so sensitive to it that I am aware before it really gets to the point where it bothers me. Something about the afternoon light before sunset in the fall and winter makes my chest tighten and other sensations. It has to do with sunset around 5 pm. This was the cocktail hour when my parents would barricade themselves away from us and start drinking. Yes, this still affects me forty years later. I am aware of it and can normally deal with it. But I still get a stomach ache and my mood shifts.

This morning, as many Sunday mornings, I sleep an hour or two longer than normal. It is very common for me to have nasty dreams but there is a prevalence of one reoccurring situation and it often plays out in these stolen moments of extra sleep. I have no idea why and I cannot control my dreams. Even after being divorced for over 13 years, I still have horrible dreams about the way I was treated. I am not going to dwell by explaining this as I need to let the dream I had this morning go. But my point is PTSD does not just end.

I know what I have to do and will tend to it. The summer ending is always hard for me. We are off to the River for our long extended stay in a couple of weeks. That will help me to focus and ground. There needs to be more awareness of PTSD, and not just for Vets. It affects many people in many ways.

 

Saying good-bye

Elgin2015 From the sugar maples over head in the garden

Have you ever had that feeling in the pit of your gut when you know you have to face the end of something, and it is out of your control? That is what Autumn feels like to me. Don’t get me wrong, I actually love the season for its colors and vibrancy. But I have to close my garden. I woke up this week to find all the impatiens gone from the cold, leaves covering everything and I knew then end was near.

late may garden 2015a  Early May

My garden is my sanctuary. I did not take a lot of pictures this year. I took several in spring which is my favorite time of year. I love the anticipation of bringing everything back to life and planting the year’s blooms. I usually put in over 100 plants. This year, my husband and I raked and seeded the lawn and it came in beautifully.

chopping tree 2015  Taking down a very old tree

I sit out every night in my wicker chair. Sometimes a friend joins me. Many nights the dogs stay with me. Most nights I fall asleep. This year the neighbor cut down a huge tree which provides even more sun light and exquisite views of the moon. I hate when people cut very old trees down for no reason.

Nightview 2015 View of moon from my chair

Cookie 9-2015  Miss Cookie waiting to cuddle for the evening

lights 2015    Night lights

I have about 75 solar lights in the garden and  Christmas lights on an arbor and a bush. It is pretty bright out there at night. I love the sounds of cicadas and the occasional calling of animals like foxes in the distance. We have one set of very noisy neighbors whose children are allowed to screech well past 10 pm. But fortunately they go away on the weekends. I think it is peaceful and quiet, but as my dear friend will tell you, it is not. I just do not hear the trains. Well I do, but I like the sound of trains in the distance. It sounds like home to me.

fall 2015 garden  Garden in Fall 2015

I will put the planters away and harvest what herbs are left. I grew lettuce this year that was delicious. My roses bloomed and now do not look great but hopefully they will be fine. One of the things that gets me through the winter is thinking about what I will plant the next spring. I leave my chair under the protected part of the deck and I will sit out when I can, entombed in blankets and warm clothes, dreaming of the first warm days.