Sandals In October = From 2006

The sun is shining brightly this beautiful day, another gift from the Sun God. It is mid October and the past week has seen temperatures heading towards 70 degrees, the true example of an Indian Summer up here in Western New York.

I know the temperatures will be dropping today; the weather forecasters have delivered the somewhat solemn news. The digits will fall from 70 to 60 to 50 this evening, and I believe them. The skies are getting cloudy over the lake and the wind is picking up, the sure signs of oncoming cooler days and even colder weekends. It is time to plant the bulbs that have been calling to me from their bags under the kitchen chair, left there as a reminder so that I don’t forget to start digging before the frost hits. A neighbor mows his lawn for the last time of the season, moving slowly and enjoying the sun on his face as he sits contented, moving back and forth, and up and down across his acre of land.

We’ve been spoiled and we know it, sleeping with the windows open in mid October. What a delight and a treat in itself, to hear the crickets and the peepers, to listen to the waves as they gently tap on the rocks behind our house –not insistent, but certainly persistent.

Fall is here and the pumpkins have been picked, laid across in row after row like an army battalion, ready for the choosing. Little arms will try to envelope the biggest one they can, while moms and dads stand close by to catch both should they fall. After all, they all have their sandals on sock less feet, still.

I took the boys for their daily walk down to the water, all of us anxious and sad at the same time. It is the last swim for the summer and we know that too, even though they could probably stand to take a dip in November.

Throwing their toys for them to retrieve they are barking loudly; I know in reality it is really their laughter and joy that I hear. Jumping on each other, dunking them in the shallow blue, they are besides themselves with happiness and glee. They are content and so am I.

Autumn
The leaves blow over us as we walk back to the house, yellow, brown and green ornaments sticking to their wet backs as they walk slowly up the lane towards home.

Sandals and swimming in October. We can’t ask for more than that.

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The Butter Leaves of Letchworth

The leaves on the great Maple trees were so yellow, they looked like sticks of butter.

Yellow and bright, they were everywhere I looked, behind me and before me, for miles and miles and miles, interspersed between the Birch and Pine trees.

I was standing at the bottom of the gorge, a much traveled trail of many before me, and most likely many to follow. Boundless untamed waterfalls behind and the sun shining brightly above, it was an October Indian Summer the likes of which I had never seen before, and would be very blessed indeed should I ever see again. My face would be sunburned before the day was over.

In the spring the Maple leaves were green like all the others, blending in with the landscape and not very special looking at first glance, wallflowers at the dance of the more popular Ash and Black Walnut. Come the end of summer, however, they began their transformation from plain green to brilliant red. You could tell this was the beginning of something special, as if the other trees themselves stood back to watch the emergence of pure beauty, somewhat envious and intimidated at the same time.

Perhaps the greatest surprise to them all, though, was the ultimate blast of pigmentation, the final burst of yellow. The ugly duckling was truly the belle of the ball.

The trails walked were winding and turning, up and down, over many miles of buried tree roots and smooth rock formations. The moss was overgrown on the north side of the boulders, and the rock slates beckoned to sit and visit for a while, to reflect and learn the innermost secrets of one’s soul.

I had many prayers of thanks that day. Thankful to live in a country where the park was a gift of love donation from a wealthy man, a present to the community after his death. Thankful to be able to walk the many slate steps down to the gorge under my own power and unassisted. To be able to breathe deep the smells of the wildflowers and to see the colorful foliage surrounding me at every turn. My heart was full, and my eyes glistened at the sheer joy of being where I was at that very moment.

A perfect day and in was only 10am in the morning. How I wished my children could have shared in the moment with me, but mindful that this sight was meant for just me

I will hold in my soul always the surprise vision greeting me that morning as I turned to face the sun.

They will forever be the Butter Leaves of Letchworth, the announcement of Fall to me, a wonderful reminder of the fullness of life, the reward for surviving a Winter bleak and dark, and holding fast to the promise of beauty yet to come. My faith was rewarded and I was alive to receive a blessing. I will never again take anything for granted, for each day is a gift, each person a present from above.

AND THE OSCAR WENT TO…….

Its 2017 and I am celebrating my forty-second Mother’s Day.  I woke up wanting to write about the birth of my children, both maternal and inherited, but celebrations and  commitments will steal the time needed to adequately share with you my experience of both the joy and  heartache of motherhood.   But I will write it, to be sure.  For now, I have posted something I wrote in 2004.  It all stands true today.   Happy Mother’s Day!

 

I never thought I’d end up here.

I was supposed to be living in New York City by now, a famous comedic actress on Broadway. I was supposed to have received numerous Tony Awards for my stellar performances in various musicals as a singer and dancer, and accolades for the countless Neil Simon plays written just for me.

Everybody said I was supposed to be a star. All my teachers, my friends, my drama coach. I could cry on cue, deliver a line without mistake, and hit my mark every time. Directors were amazed at the volume of my speech, coming from this little body. I could belt out a song and not break a sweat. I learned how to pose and how to strut. If I didn’t make it on Broadway, it was a no brainer that I could be a Rockette at Radio City Music Hall. Amateur photographers would take my pictures for college portfolios, saying I could use them for my casting call rounds. I did summer stock productions from 1972-1974. I did go for a casting call once, in 1973.

Then I got married.

Dreams of youth have a way of crashing down around you. Reality sets in. I got pregnant shortly after the marriage. We were both children, raising a child. He was a student and I worked in a psychiatric hospital. My stellar performances were limited to sad, mentally ill women, and a two month old. Tough crowd.

As time went on and I became a single mother, I never gave up the dream of becoming a star. But motherhood has a way of knocking everything out of your knapsack and replacing it with baby bottles, toys and teething rings. My casting bag became a baby bag. I realized I had this little life I was responsible for, and I had to make a choice. It was getting crowded in my knapsack.

I never looked back. I am happy with the choice I made, that of being a mom. I was a star to five more children as the years went by. My talent now lies within them. They are writers, singers, songwriters, photographers, musicians, artists and comedians.

They are my greatest achievements, the result of stellar performances of determination, education and compassion. They are my Tonys, my Oscars, my Emmys. Their pictures decorate every wall of my house, every corner of my office. Because I chose them over myself, I will forever have them as statues on my mantle. They have done me proud, and my ambitions and dreams will live on in them.

I never thought I’d up here. But I am so glad I did.