As the first leaves of Autumn
begin to flutter to the ground from on high,
leaving the trees only a little sparse,
so my children began to leave the nest.
The first to go wasn't difficult,
but an exciting time,
just as the first chill evenings of Autumn
are so very welcome after the sweltering hot days of summer.
Then come the stronger winds of change
and even more leaves begin to skitter along the streets,
chasing one another, back and forth, back and forth,
as the north and south winds struggle,
neither yet willing to yield to the other.
And, as each of the children leave our home,
then return, then go,
not quite fully ready to stand on their own,
my heart lets go a little more,
not without the same struggle,
not quite willing to yield to their absence.
But go they must, as children do grow up,
and along with the unpacking of Autumn's
cold weather sweaters and jackets,
after they go, I bring out the long-cherished
memories of all their growing up years
to keep my heart warm.
With shorter daylight hours,
I fill the rooms with the soft glow of candles,
and am reminded of parents' loving voices
and words, now gone from our lives,
yet ever present in our hearts,
another kind of letting go.
As I take long, brisk walks
on the nature trails in the park,
I hear whispers of the coming winter
as the remaining leaves on the trees
rustle noisily in the determined breeze.
So, too, are my own thoughts,
uncluttered by children's voices…
telling me I am once again, alone.
And then, as marvelous as the smell
of pumpkin pie and hot cider
and holiday preparations,
comes the news of grandchildren on the way,
and the excitement of the arrival
of new wee little ones
bringing back anticipation
just like the feel of Christmas to come.
But along the way, as sure as the seasons change
and I grow old with age, my mind, my heart, my face,
settles down and with all my wrinkles, winks,
able to rest in the assurance that
no matter what changes life brings,
somehow after a life well-lived, I know,
it's all good.
Robin Noel (November 1, 2011)