With my niece here, several people have suggested to her that we "should" be taking drives to see the changing leaves. Some of these people have never been to our Tennessee Mountain Home, so they don't know the joy of sitting in front of our fireplace, enjoying a cozy blaze while peering out the window as the light autumn rain carries the gold of black walnut leaves across our line of sight. Neither have they sat at our kitchen table watching the birds fight for a place at the sunflower seed feeder hanging from our brilliant red-leafed dogwood tree.
I am so pleased to have my niece to share these moments with me. It helps to take away my misgivings about what follows fall, so I can be more in the moment.
Living in the moment may seem obvious to some, but to those who have experienced a great deal of trauma in their lives, it can present quite a challenge. One never knows when a simple step in any direction will open up a Pandora's box of messy memories. Everyone else in the room my be celebrating, and the monsters of one person's past can pop out of the Pandora's box and turn that single person's joy to terror.
Such is my challenge with this fall in Coker Creek. We had a very rough winter last year, as we had several periods of being iced into our home for days at a time. I never learned to drive on snow, much less on ice, because New Orleans isn't prone to such events. Hurricanes, I can handle, but even a dusting of the white frozen stuff sends me into a panic.
As luck would have it, our worst ice storm since we moved into our mountains occurred when Richard was in the hospital last winter. It wasn't a pretty sight, the Wild Cajun Woman of Coker Creek, crawling along the iced over roads to get back and forth to the ICU. Oh, and did I mention that I don't drive the mountain roads at night, but Richard had to be brought in after dark? And I was in such a hurry to get him to help that I ran on fumes and ended up out of gas in an ice storm when I was ready to leave the hospital once they finally got Richard settled in ICU at three in the morning?
As I look out our window, with winter edging ever closer, I just keep reminding myself that this moment remains beautiful as long as I remember to breathe...and Richard keeps our firewood bin filled.