The upholstery on the recliner was carefully chosen to complement the colours in the room, but we hadn’t factored in the cats. The first week Lynxy discovered a thread with her teeth, and I never noticed. We came back from a weekend away, to discover that she had become bored or rebellious in our absence. What’s a cat to do? Let’s just say that we contacted the upholsterer and the week-old reading chair soon sported heavy duty armrest covers. They haven’t necessarily protected the front of the chair, but the damage from her relentless pulling on threads has been minimized. She left her mark on the furniture.
She left her mark on our hearts, too. Lynxy died this summer, and I think of her every time I brush my hand over those covers or carefully move the blanket she used to crawl beneath. Memories are that paradox of full-empty, warmly and wistfully recreated moments. Sydney is creating her own, and as long as the same blanket is over my legs so she doesn’t need to put up with my bony knees, she is content to sit with me. Sometimes, that means my book or computer rests on her hindquarters. I’m delighted she stays because when Lynxy was alive, she simply wouldn’t. I wonder if she is remembering too.
On this cool November morning, I watch as a russet-coloured leaf dangles precariously, challenging the breeze in a tug-of-war. Fall is a melancholy time, the yellow leaves from a different tree dance in the background. My husband could tell me what kind of trees they are. He knows the names. I know who shares their branches. We understand different things and yet we both know this: there will come a day soon when nearly every leaf will be on the ground, quite likely covered with snow.
It is the order of things. Leaves do not stay on trees. People cannot live forever, and neither can cats. Relationships change as people grow–into their true selves, apart, even up. To everything there is a season, I hear my Gram say from some long-ago time. Endings make room for beginnings. Bodies wear out, inattention causes crashes, moments pass, people die. It happens in spite of us, and yet, it is what reminds us to live.
The dry leaves rustle beneath my feet. I’ve loved that sound since I was a small girl walking on prairie roads. There is a cool crispness to the air I breathe, a reminder that I am entering a season of dormancy, of rest, of warming by the fire. How grateful I am to have one.
Down comes another leaf.
I’ve been struggling with letting go of something, and as I watch the leaf pirouette a path I question the wisdom of holding on so willfully. The wind swirls around the last leaf, strangling it’s lifeblood. Even if it holds on, it cannot stay vibrant in these conditions.
But if it just lets go? The very same leaf will decompose, break down and nourish something new.
Growth happens here. It may be hidden beneath the snow where it can’t be seen, in ways I cannot know in the season to come. It matters not. God is at work. There is a time. There is a season.