They took down one of our big beautiful trees. I say "took" rather than cut, because it was quite the process of chopping, falling, cutting, chipping, raking, dragging, rolling, sawing...there was something so fulfilling and exciting about watching this process. The kids sensed it too. They could hardly focus on their Cheerios that morning. Seth was literally shrieking with delight as he watched them stuff whole branches into the machine and come shooting out as practically dust.
The leaves of the remaining three willow oaks are yellowing and beginning to fall to the ground. There is a tangible shift in the air. A shift in seasons. While one day we shed our sweaters by mid-afternoon with a high of 75, the very next we pull on an extra layer with a chilly temp of 52 degrees.
Until a few friends and family members started questioning my voluntary sabbatical, I hadn't really visited the "why" of this break. So the morning the tree guy knocked on my door and asked me if I wanted to keep our tree chips for mulch, I began thinking. I stood in the living room sitting on the edge of the castle table watching the demoliton of over 1/2 a century of growth.
I've been delving into the archives here at My Angle. I perused and it became apparent that this record has been very anticipation-driven. From its beginning, this family has been fed from the nourishing and comforting pool of "major life changes".
It hadn't let up since the day I said "Yes". From there, Dr. Gooch and I stared unawares into each other's eyes as we embarked upon medical school where together, with some of the most stellar people we've encountered, we made a proverbial notch in our symbolic belts with each year completed. There were countless decisions to be decided and choices to champion in the cause of profession-seeking.
In the throes of the school/training days was also, adding to the thrilling pile of anticipatory events, the inevitability of children. The day they said "Push" began six years of conception, miraculous pain, expansion, subsequent deflation, sore nipples--oh, the sore nipples--and being witness to the jaw dropping transformation of wrinkled bundles of feathery flesh and real live baby's breath. Our firstborn boy! Then a year and a half or so later--a girl!
Everything was tinted with that titillating tinge of *temporary*. Through the difficult years in the dessert--where residency ran its course--I only had to look up at the white fluffy cumulus of the future floating above our earthly turmoil and trial, and watch our happiness drift pregnant with promise. And, sometimes patient, mostly not, I muscled my way through *pregnant again* with the promise of another...girl! And, then our fourth child born, the third girl to round out our sojourn in Arizona.
As the doctor toiled to secure a career, I labored to grow our family. We were the King and Queen of Accomplishment spending the quiet hours courting our future. Dates with the the atlas, holding hands with pages of possibility--this was our manna. We were sustained by this relationship that we nurtured with that most mysterious of tenses: the future! We were careful to include corsages of prayer and planning, until finally, leaning in, as we stood on that porch precipice, for the kiss of --a real job!
And though we seemed to have reached that infamous light--you know, the one at the end of the tunnel--it turned out to be a window. Through it, still flitting flirtatiously on the horizon, we gawked at--an even better job and our first real home!
This ruse of anticipation saturated our first eight years with huge spurts of growth. Now, for the irony that surely you've been anticipating (if you are even still reading).
I drank deeply from that pool of "major life changes" for those formative years. Now settled with nothing looming and suddenly I find myself craving a nice refreshing dip. Just a few laps, to wake me up a bit?
I also find myself not pregnant. Never have I had an eighteen month old tearing through the cupboards without standing, watching the young toddler while rubbing the rounding belly already halfway there again. It must be natural to feel a slight loss of purpose. It's not that there's nothing to anticipate. With four growing children still hitting developmental milestones, two of them in school--our house is nothing short of a buzzing beehive of blossoming life. We've really never been able to plan past the end of our nose and now not an evening goes by without a brief consult with a calendar showing barely a blank day three months ahead of us.
I caught my toe on Time and tripped a bit. I realized Time is not in charge and I just need to watch my step and make my stride count that much more. Every dream we had mapped out over the years had seen fulfillment. You can see why one would resort to a withdraw from things in general. Blogging in specific. With the wealth I woke to each morning, there was something unsettlingly wrong with sitting to "put down the bones" of our days here and draw a blank. I knew better.
I find myself shifting seasons. As the tree people swept up the mess of chopping down fifty years of growth. I watched them, with arms folded into the warmth of my quilted down vest-jacket. From sprout to branch to solid trunk--what once shared the chore of shading the grass below, now rests in a pile by the fence--mulch, ready to be raked. How cruel is Time.
My married life condensed into a blog post. This same time demands I sweep up the mess of myself (the natural filth that gathers when we tend only to our own needs) and salvage what remains for a new season, no packaged future to shade our present. Only sawdust and raw wood from which to fashion...
Whatever we want. Whatever the Divine decrees. Just two stumps madly in love and four little sprouts.