At the end of October I went to Wildacres and the fall began to come alive.
In early November my sister and I took a trip to my hometown, Greensboro. The purpose of the trip was to go see this amazing performance put on by the Touring Theatre of North Carolina. While there we tripped down nostalgia lane by visiting relatives, cruising my dad's old house, strolling down Elm Street to see the revitalization of our old stomping grounds. The red- and yellow-leaved trees were in full splendor, especially in the cemetery where my parents and grandparents and several other relatives are buried.
As soon as I got home, I washed all my clothes and repacked in anticipation of the birth of my first grandchild, due November 19th. Within hours of getting the call that my daughter was in labor, my husband and I were ready to leave.
As we flew over Baltimore where we would change planes, I noticed that the fall colors there were brilliant. Clusters of color were everywhere as the plane prepared to land.
In the northern town where my daughter lives, the leaves were mostly gone but the weather was balmy and beautiful for the first few days we were there. My husband and I took a drive up into the low mountain-y area of the state and enjoyed the serenity of the landscape. Everywhere there were large piles of stacked firewood. People were definitely thinking about winter.
For the time we were there, though, the main event wasn't the weather. It was the birth of our grandson, only the third male in my side of the family in four generations. All of us--parents, aunts, uncles, great-aunts and great-uncles--were beside ourselves with joy at the new life in our family. After my other daughters and my husband left to go home, I was fortunate to have two whole days with the baby and my middle daughter before having to come home. I watched him at peace, sleeping in the same wicker bassinet that had cradled my mother, me and my daughters.
The morning I was to leave, the wind turned chilly and there was frost on the car window and the ground. I wrapped my scarf around my neck and buttoned my coat; winter would be in this area of the country very soon.
On the way home on the plane, I realized that my life too has changed from fall to winter. When I got the call from my daughter I was still a mother of older children. With the birth of my grandchild, I can feel the press of time more keenly. I'm a grandmother. There's a richness in being the family elder, but a poignancy too, a tartness, a sense that every moment that I'm a part of this child's life is important. A sense that I cannot waste a single bit of it.
All the color was gone except for some red here and there when we taxied into Raleigh. I welcome the coming cool-down of the seasons. It holds the promise of the holidays and time with family. Time with that beautiful little boy and my strong and beautiful daughters. Time that I will not use unwisely.