Hurricane Patricia’s fading gasps are rattling the windows and blowing away the last vestiges of Autumn color from the trees here at Aftermath on this, the last day of my short-term stay. I’m watching the wind bend the trees and toss the leaves, the folding and flying, so beautiful. What I want to learn from nature: Accepting transitions, gracefully wending one’s way to the ending.
Here, Aftermath, is one of my favorite pet/housesit gigs. Judah, my dear canine-friend, is impatient for the return of his (and my) beloved A, which he made clear by waking me at 3:45 a.m. for an apparently urgent outdoor frolic and then, again, at 4:15, and finally, when urgency reared its panting head and nudging-cold-nose again at 5:00, I surrendered and permanently de-bedded – second day in a row for that. All good. No worries, because here, this magical estate of Aftermath, I find such solace in the silence and the solitude in which I am embraced, made warmer since I am also surrounded by A’s love and energy, and frequently kissed and nuzzled and nudged into attention by Judah, who, like me, is waning and wending toward an ending. So, I am as patient and forgiving of his urgent needs as I hope someone will be of mine.
I’ve loved these three isolate days and am grateful for having had them — not just because I’ve been sleeping in a luxe king-sized bed on decadently soft, 1000-thread-count, 100% Egyptian cotton, lavender sheets — but, I need more. The past few months have been a stormy conflagration of illnesses and emotional upheavals, whirls of wishes and wants and fadings and failures; a hurricane — so to speak — of things I’ve left undone, left un-considered, left outside, now tossed and thrown and demanding attention be paid. Truth; the past few months have seemed one of those “this is your life” review periods, where all that has gone before comes back, quickly, in echo and shadow and bits of melody overheard, remembered: What was that lyric? Who was that person? Oh yes, I meant to, didn’t I?
Songs I’ve sung. People I’ve loved. Those I did. Those I meant to. These all come back and demand — like Judah, in the middle of this night of my late life — urgent attention. “Let me out, let me frolic,” they insist. I do. I always have. But now, unlike then, those befores when I would attend to the nags and needs all too quickly and then push them aside, ignore the needs and reasons behind the urgings, now, I am unafraid. I listen to them, I attend to them, I let things be – what they are. And in that way, at least for some of those things, I am able to let them go.
I sit, quietly, waiting and watching. I know this storm will pass. Storms, they do. Where once upon a time I mourned the colors of Fall fading and blowing away, now, I welcome the empty branches. I enjoy the bare, the winter, the cold, the respite, the pause.
I am meant to be this. I am better here, alone. My books, my silence, the absence of others. It is just me, caring for Judah, who is waning and wending to his own ending, too, both of us content to watch the falling of this Fall, waiting for Winter.