Today, the last of September, feels like autumn is honest to gosh here; not just a glimmer in the eye, a hint in the air. The maple leaves turned yellow overnight. It was see-your-breath cold this morning.
I was outside early—wearing knit cap and down vest—to pick apples up the driveway for a half batch of unsweetened applesauce with which to make blueberry zucchini muffins for my Wednesday writing circle. The house and valley were enveloped in fog, but the sun was beginning its power surge. The deer family trotted out of camera reach when I surprised them in the orchard; but I found them again later.
As I walked back down the driveway with my basket of red and gold, my heart was dancing. There are some moments I love my life so much, it’s almost unbearable. How fortunate I am to live here. How lucky my mother was to have so many years here; and, though not as many, my father too. From time to time, I come across my mother’s poetry jottings as she tried to record her rapture. Her words are proof that she lived the days, that she treasured the beauty. As am I.
An early snow hit the Northwest over the weekend. Paradise took a bit of a hit. I am heading there before dawn tomorrow—my last hike here this summer, though I’m taking my boots to North Carolina. The forecast is for a sparkling day. Last year I was there on September 27, and the mountain was summertime bare. This will be a different experience, perhaps with lingering snow on the huckleberry bushes and the Sitka mountain ash.
My mountain is dressed in wedding white too. She, who is completely naked in the summer since that day in May 1980, is dressed early for the winter.
I had my chimney cleaned today, ready to go. As I was writing a check, the service provider, standing in the dining room, said, “I don’t think I would ever get tired of this view.” “Sometimes,” I said, “I think I’m the luckiest person on the planet.”
And that was before the sunset.
I shall die happy because I have lived
lived on this beautiful earth
with beautiful people
beautiful days, restful nights…
I have sat enthralled as the late afternoon sun
shines through the woods
unencumbered by leafless underbrush
and casts a golden spotlight on the trunks of
of the tall fir trees…
I shall die happy because I have lived.
Stellajoe Staebler, 2009