Time to Go
Labor Day has come and gone; and I am back in Massachusetts. I have spent the last 7 weeks (with a few brief stints on the road) in the high peaks of the Adirondacks, my heart’s home. I have enjoyed visits from my family and friends, and have deepened into the quiet beauty through days of solitude and reflection. It is a time of melancholy – I know it is time to let go and re-engage in life ‘back home’, but I will deeply miss the friends, the community, the pace, the silence, the joy I so cherish.
One of the things I enjoy the most in the summer is worshiping at Keene Valley UCC church. The congregation is creative, warm, vibrant. I know I am worshiping in the midst of both ‘summer people’ and year-round folk. The transition that happens on Labor Day weekend impacts us all. So to honor this time of letting go – for all of us – we heard these words on Sunday, penned by the Keene Valley UCC minister, Rev. Milton Dudley. They capture the experience for me.
The Summer Cycle
Two weeks, four weeks, eight weeks, twelve. Black letters sitting flat on the page; no meaning – just words.
Your name, my name, old friend’s names, new names, forgotten names, names not coming this year, or ever again. Oh the melancholy of these names.
Arriving with great expectations, for sure, but first opening, and discovering treasures and trash left behind in the rush to leave last year. Not too bad, it’s seen much worse.
Opening smells and waves from afar. Not yet ready for a conversation or visit. It will come. I will come.
First night sleep; dark, quiet, not silent, but the sounds are of the earth and its creatures in the wilderness; no airplanes, sirens, nor droning trains from the abyss.
First cocktail hour: pick a little, talk a little, who, what, when, but why? say that again, pick, pick, pick, talk-a-lot, talk-a-lot
Artsy, artsy, shows, galleries, theatre, performances, something every evening, no two things, no three . . . the summer war of choices rages in our lives.
Farmers, farmer’s markets, farm store, eat local, eat healthy, support the zealot young farmers and the old ones who have planted, harvested and fed us for years. Boycott Kettle Korn.
Friday traffic. Sunday traffic. Ha, ha, ha, I’m already here and I don’t have to go home . . . ah . . .
Children running free and squealing with freedom. Dogs on long walks, swimming in the river, deer at dusk. BE AWARE, bears, and foxes and turkeys, oh my!
Sunday morning worship, guest artists, wonderful choir, where’s Betsy?, oh, I didn’t know. As a faith community we share the highs and lows. We revel and mourn. There is truly something to the corporate nature of a worshiping community that cannot be found on the trail.
Warm summer nights. Humid summer days. The energy drains out of me and I head to the sleeping porch for a nap.
The wispy clouds dance in, out and over the mountain’s contour. A symphony without music, a prayer without words, an epiphany of the continuing act of Creation.
The children run screaming when I taunt them with, ‘Back to School Sales.’ They remind me of all the packing I must do. I run screaming with them.
THE date looms and the pace quickens. Must be mindful of the moment or it will be missed. Must face the yearly reality of things not done, attended, experienced.
One more hike, one swim, one concert, one dinner, one porch nap, all those ones add up to ‘too much.’
That day arrives. Depression and tears arrive too. A great summer full of the cycle of life . . . but over. As we start the car and head east to the freeway we sing . . .
Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
Happy trails to you, keep smilin’ until then.
Who cares about the clouds when we’re together?
Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather.
Happy trails to you, ‘till we meet again.
Sniff, sniff . . . See you next summer.