Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Change of the Seasons

Overlooking the Mississippi River.  Illinois on the left, Missouri on the right.
On a bright October afternoon, my brother Don took us on a drive along country roads that Mom had traveled many times over her 82 years.  The sky was glorious, one of those brilliant skies that changes tones of blue throughout the day.  The leaves had begun the magic that seeped from green to red and gold. 

...right there!
Everything held the sense of being so temporary.  The leaves and all their beauty would be a sodden mound of brown mulch in a few weeks.   

The sky would be filled with winter clouds.  And my mother—where and what would she be in weeks or months?  That was an unsaid question that floated over us along this drive along country roads and past harvested fields.

“I used to wade in the stream right there!” Mom exclaimed as we pulled off the road and down to the gravel stream bed.  Don and I ambled over to the water, talking in low tones about Mom, while she stayed in the car.  Don picked up a stone and skimmed it along a shadowy deep drop in the stream. 

“No, not there!  Further down…” Mom called out.  As fragile as she was and no matter how much each breath cost her, Mom would tell us the right way to go.
...you used to play there, Susie....

Later, we drove by a faded ancient house, one that leaned whichever way the wind was blowing.  The whole house gave the illusion that it was held up by the fact that the window frames were still square, and the front door was shut.  Other than that, the poor place was a lost cause.  

 “Oh, you used to play there, Susie,” Mom sighed.  Her hand pointed out the window.  “Over there Anna had a picnic table and we used to watch you kids while we…”  

 I looked at the hand with its transparent paper-thin skin, bulging blue veins, and bones.  So gnarled and painful now, those hands had held mine all my life.


After driving along back roads I never knew existed and hearing about the people who had once farmed that field, people who had lived in a house now a heap of rubble, we took Mom back to her home. 
Country road, goes on forever

While she napped in her recliner, I looked out her kitchen window, seeing some rain clouds moving in from the west.  The color of the air itself had transformed to gray.  I took a photo of a tree outside the kitchen window. 

“I wonder how many more times I will look out this window?”

The clouds moved in, the rain was almost weeping, and my mother slept for the rest of the afternoon.  I stood at the window, watching the leaves fall, and listening to the sound of the clock ticking on the piano.


P.S.  This was posted two years ago.  My daughter is having surgery and I will be busy this week. I thought this deserved a re-visit.  Susan Kane

18 comments:

  1. Life can be fragile indeed, especially the older we get, hope all goes well with your daughters surgery

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    1. To watch a vibrant woman, loving mom fade and waste away is a horrible experience. However, we talked about her past, her family, stories.

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  2. I'm glad you re-posted this, as this was a beautiful journey. My thoughts and prayers going to your daughter for the surgery!

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    1. Fall in the Midwest was always my favorite season. Thanks for your prayers!

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  3. This was beautiful, Susan, and very moving.

    I am praying that all goes well with your daughter.

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    1. Thanks, Arlene! I am at my daughter's home today. She is on the slow road still.

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  4. Reeling in the years, that was awesome.

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    1. Glad you saw time pass as I saw it that day. Thanks.

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  5. Hope all goes well with your daughter.

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  6. I have a friend who just went through all of these emotions with her mom too. The time spent, and effort made to connect were well worth it, as she no longer gets to look out of the window. :(

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    1. Nor do I. But I am glad that your friend was able to connect and spend that precious time with her mom.

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  7. All the best to your daughter. This is as lovely as the first time.

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  8. Sending good thought for your daughter and wiping away my tears after reading your moving account of a day with your mom.

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  9. it is quite the reeling ordeal to go through

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  10. This is beyond beautiful. Good luck to you and your daughter - hope the surgery goes extremely well. Hugs.

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  11. This is a very touching story Susan. Best of luck on your daughter's surgery. I'll be sending lots of good thoughts your way.

    Julie

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  12. What a wonderful story, Susan! History relived, a bit.

    I hope your daughter's surgery goes well.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!