So softly they fall.

Alison captures so well that feeling I get from looking at a solitary leaf of autumn. When you realize that the fallen leaf eventually decays and contributes to the soil which supports a new tree with its own leaves, it is all rather miraculous.

Through rose tinted glasses

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As winter draws near

they begin to fall

 from weakening arms

dropping, one by one.

They braved the storms

the wind and rain

their beauty shone

with the rising sun.

Now crumpled and creased

it’s time to let go

time to accept

the journey is done.

Another falls

so softly to the ground

tears are shed

a battle is won.

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Love Alison x

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Another Picture On The Wall

I decided to go back to that original feeling and record a song I wrote and recorded some time ago. It doesn’t get more basic, production-wise, than this.  This song title ended up being kind of a theme for my artistic endeavors. Sometimes in times of loss, we simply put up another picture on the wall.

So Am I

I try to speed-write a song on occasions. I like to see what just pours out. I just plug a microphone into the Iphone and have a go at it. There is something satisfying about not caring and just doing.

By the way check out this beautiful tree in our yard!

 

AND!!!

From these Concord grapevines in our backyard…

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…came this homemade grape jelly!

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Now I shall go out and gather some fresh eggs from the lovely ladies in the side yard and then go stack some more firewood under cover…rain tomorrow!

Old Men Sit and Stare

About 37 years ago, or so, my paternal grandfather died which made me about 26 years old at the time. I remember watching my father just sit and stare. He hardly spoke for a few days; he just sat in chair outside and stared at the big oaks trees in the back of his land.

This didn’t seem right to me. I handled my grief by trying to be as positive and supportive as possible. Although I was really sad, I hated silence and felt a need to fill the air in some sort defiance of death. Others my age in the family did the same thing, perhaps not as outgoing as I was- but they did not sit and stare. We were all in motion. I thought my father’s reaction was odd.

That has all changed.  Since my father passed away on Friday, I find myself just staring a lot into empty space, but  also sometimes at the branches of a tree on my own land.  I noticed that Dad’s very kind and loving grandchildren have a tendency to be active during their grief, just like I was 37 years ago.  The noise doesn’t seem inappropriate…I understand it…but I am not able to participate in it.  I prefer just staring.

If you’ve followed this blog for awhile, you know that I tend to be introspective at times as I try to learn more about myself, life, and the great mystery some call God which all leads to this question: Why did my father stare at trees when grandpa died?

I think I now know why.  His North Star had fallen out of the sky. It takes a bit to orientate your life, your direction, especially if way down deep you have been trying to make your father proud of you…even when you are older.

What should I do with this new insight? For one thing, I need to make sure my own children know I am proud of them not for what they do, or their accomplishments. I am proud of them for who they are and that pride was born the instant I first laid eyes on them…although they were indeed kind of messy at the time.

The other things I need to do with this insight? Well, I am going to have to sit silently and stare at a tree for some time before I know that answer.

 

Trying To Make Sense Of It All

The time has come that I have spent nearly my entire life afraid of – my father died. I write this not for an ounce of sympathy.  I am the lucky one. I have lived a full life with the presence of my father.  And, Parkinson’s Disease can be very cruel in its final stages. We were able to keep Dad at home with the incredible spirit and support of my sister and her loving daughter. If you have gone through the hospice experience, you know what my sister and niece had to do in terms of supporting Dad. 

Now, just a few hours after the mortuary service has left with my father’s body, I sit in a patio room staring at oak trees in the back and the golden perennial grasses that dance lightly from a fall breeze. And, I think, what is it all about, this thing we call life?

Because of the slow physical deterioration process of Parkinson’s, I think I had the opportunity to learn a couple of things through my father’s struggle. You see, my father, and exactly like myself and probably exactly like you too, lived most of his life with passion. This passion came out in all sorts of ways, mostly good, very good ways in fact, but some not so good. I have done the exact same thing in my life. I had strong opinions, strong values, strong spirit.  Perhaps this is exactly what is required from us during our younger days – part of the survival of the fittest thing.

However, I noticed in my father, and lately in myself, that his passions developed further into what I would now describe as compassions.  It no longer mattered who or what was right; what matters is that we all suffer, we all suffer from our passions and from the passions of others. Compassion, however, says. “I will suffer with you. I will not judge you or your passions.” 

My father was always on the road to compassion. Oh, so many people he helped out along the way. He literally emptied his pockets of any financial security in order to help others.  His mother planted the seeds of compassion early in his life, during the Great Depression, and they sprouted and grew over time, especially over the last 30 years of his life.  Eventually, compassion became the only flower in his dense emotional and spiritual garden.

As I now enter the early stages of the sunset of my own life, I hope my children will say someday, “Dad replaced his personal passions with compassions.” Isn’t this really one of the core messages of Jesus’ life? I don’t know. I don’t really know shit actually. But, as I stare out at the oak trees and the dried summer grass and search for my father’s spirit, his essence, his true self, it seems as good of an answer as any…and best of all, it makes sense to me. Thank you father for another wonderful lesson. I will keep it close to my heart with you.

Quick Diet Update

Well, after not losing, nor gaining, any weight last month, I was happy to get on the scales on Saturday and discover I had lost about 5 pounds in September.  All together I have lost nine pounds in 3 months.

Also, my A1c test has come down from 11.5 (you’re dying) to 7.5 (hey, get it to under 6 and they consider your blood sugar is under control for that period of time.) Of course, I have learned that it is NEVER UNDER CONTROL. It takes very little to see it go up again…like one greasy, delicious Lay’s potato chip.

At least I am making progress.  I did notice when I put on the airline seat belt for a recent trip to La La Land that I had a few inches of extra “belt” to spare!  Still, I noticed folks were reluctant to take the seat next to for fear I’d blub over into their laps, I guess.  So who sat next to me – a guy bigger than me! It was a tight squeeze.

On another note, my grandson is 16 and is a very good guitar player, and is natural drummer too -but he doesn’t spend much time on the drums- decided to take up the piano about 3 months ago.  Here is his first piano cover.  You’re awesome Gavin.