Not Taking It For Granted


Not Taking It For Granted
I’m sitting on my screened porch, writing, enjoying the sounds of crisp leaves swishing in October’s light breeze.  It’s close to eighty degrees today with low humidity, perfectly comfortable.  The air temperature, the sound of dried leaves, and the vision of them snowing down into my yard is making me so happy.

     I haven’t lived through a true Midwestern Fall in over twenty years.  We lived in Michigan for two years but I cannot remember anything special about the seasons unless you count the 80 days in a row of snow. Our home on Long Island was in a neighborhood with few trees, although there was a fake berm with trees on one side of the house.  None of our windows looked onto that undeveloped land and the only thing I remember trying to do was to plant pumpkins.  I wasn’t successful.
    Then came fifteen years of life in California.  I missed my Midwestern seasons although the trees did lose leaves! 
    As I gaze again out at the leaves, noting the gold and burgundy Ash tree leaves and the fading of our Crabapple leaves, I marvel at the beauty and wonder if I took for granted all the previous Falls in my life.  Sure, I jumped into leaf piles when I was younger, enjoying that as much as my granddaughter does now.  I know I built a scarecrow or two with my own kids, but why was it so much more fun with my granddaughter yesterday?
     But I think you have to be without something for a while to appreciate what you had. And today I’m scrambling to remember previous Falls, and to be thankful that I am here for such a spectacular season.
     The only other Fall day that I remember being this beautiful was when I was in my twenties.  Husband and I helped his parents rake leaves into large piles.  Somehow, I ended up in one and my father in law tossed a bunch over my head.  Later, we drove to a wedding in Keokuk, an Iowan town completely south of where we were.  The bride loved Fall and she lucked out to have such a pretty day to compliment her choice of oranges and yellows as her colors, using dried leaves and pumpkins for decorations.  It was lovely.
     I was young, healthy, very in love with my husband of maybe four months, and this atmosphere fed every romantic notion I had of Fall. Forty-three years later, as I watch the leaves racing down to the ground just off my porch, I wonder if I’ve taken these lovely days for granted.  Have I spent other Fall days in wonder?  Did I pick up leaves of different colors during a walk with the same man who helped his father cover me in a leaf pile? I don’t remember, and I’m sad to think this means that I did not embrace this beauty.
     Now, I’m really getting into it.  I’ve purchased mums, pumpkins and decorative squash.  I’ve raked leaves, played in them with my granddaughter.  Robbie the Scarecrow now hangs from our hummingbird feeder.  I am embracing all of this with wide open arms.  And thankfully, although I know that perhaps my time is limited, I don’t feel a sense of urgency.  I’m not thinking that I better enjoy all this because it could be gone in a minute.  Nope.  In reality, it was gone for fifteen California Falls and I didn’t think much about it.  But now, back in Iowa, seeing it through a tiny girl’s eyes, and remembering my own childhood leaf piles and an exceptional Fall day that bound me to my father-in-law especially, I am glad that I have another chance.  And I can’t help but whispering, “Thank you for this beautiful day.  I promise to try not to take any of these days for granted.”

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About the Author

I'm a wife, mom, sister, daughter, and very much not perfect. My own multiple health problems led me to write about women who experience life's traumas, but bounce back because they are resilient. I strive to bring happily ever afters to all my characters.

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