The leaves are turning later this autumn. Warm weather through September has delayed our annual New England spectacle. The sugar maples are just beginning to splash streets and forests with their glorious golds and oranges and crimsons. And the brightest leaves are just beginning to fall, as they must, as the flow of sap slows and the trees harden off for the winter ahead.
With the trees’ annual cycle of endings have come losses for friends. Three have bid goodbye to parents in the past few weeks–aged 89 to 98. It’s been a time of cooking for shiva meals, joining in evening prayers, hearing stories of long lives, well lived. The last funeral was yesterday, October 12.
Yesterday would have been my mother’s 93rd birthday. She died 16 years ago. She always enjoyed the fall. As leader of our Girl Scout troop when I was in grade school, she took us on camping trips in the woods, where we would sleep in big canvas tents pitched over wooden platforms. I’m sure those adventures nurtured my love of walking in the forest, especially at the height of autumn.
I was thinking of her as Al and I hiked in a nearby state forest on Sunday. My joints began to ache and my legs were heavy by the time we emerged from the trails, but the view and the scent and the refreshing air were worth it. So, Mom, these pictures from our hike are for you. Rest in peace.
Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at livingwithscleroderma.com.