Lasha Morningstar

WE ARE ONE

September 14, 2015

A tawny golden leaf fluttered to my feet. I looked at the tree and said to it, "Are you kidding?"

She wasn't. As if to make the case fall is here, summer is blessing us with her last roses, the perennials are having their final hurrah and the grass does not need to be cut each week.

Now golden leaves dot the lawn. Only a few at first. Then more and more. So I get out my rake and gather them all up as if that would delay fall.

It's ironic because, having been born and raised in Ontario, fall is my favourite time of year. Autumn is a vibrant tapestry of leaves. Silver maples. Scarlet red maples. Mahogany brown oak. Golden beech.

Splashed amongst them is the glorious green of the coniferous - spruce, pine, larch, cedar.

Nature needs time to rest, complete her cycle of life. Maybe what I need is an attitude adjustment.

Our valiant farmers have had a dickens of a year with the drought and other troubles that they are too proud to share. These are the men and women who, come fall, quietly say, "There's always next year."

They symbolize a quality we would do well to weave into our psyche.

Hope.

When the flying Vs of ducks, geese and swans sound their honking good-byes as they wing overhead on their way south, I always say a silent prayer to St. Francis to guide and guard them and that they may return to Canada safely.

That is hope said on their wings with my prayer.

Yes, winter is in the offing. But like the tillers of field we could plant hope. Garden centres say their spring bulbs are not in yet. "Any day now," said one centre worker.

Planting bulbs, be it in a garden, on pots on the patio or balcony, lets one's mind have a little bit of expectancy when life seems to be filled with anguish.

It's also time to bring out the bird feeder and journey down to Wild Birds Unlimited to stock up and see what new offerings they have for my feathered friends.

It is such a delight to welcome a shy bird with various nut butters.

So while the migrating birds leave the neighbourhood, newcomers quickly take their places. Blue jays scream when the feeder is empty. The sweet black-capped chickadees alight on one's hand, pluck a proffered sunflower seed and fly to a nearby tree limb to shell their life-giving lunch.

Yes, winter brings its own joys.

Fall lets us prepare for this sometimes cantankerous season.

Climate change brings unexpected gales and storms where once temperate times were the norm. Witness the recent windstorm in Vancouver that toppled trees and power lines, and threw the city into a panic.

A City of Vancouver parks official said the drought weakened the trees' roots and boughs, allowing the raging winds to snap them at their core.

Message received. We too have had drought. So I know that a slow dripping of water on the ground surrounding city elms is in order until Jack Frost comes calling.

Time too to remember the folks who live on our city streets. Every payday is an ideal time to pick up a pair of good quality wool socks, new underwear, toothbrush and toothpaste.

Tuck them away in a drawer until the Marian Centre puts out a call for the needs of their Christophers who face bone-chilling cold.

As our beloved Pope Francis says, "A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just."

HUNKERING DOWN

Winter is a time for hunkering down, hibernating. It's also an ideal time out to ask "Where am I going?" Prayer time too in this cocoon season prompts me to ask "What do you want of me God?"

In my more whimsical moments I can imagine the angels in heaven saying, "God. It's that Lasha again. She keeps on asking the same question.

"We know you have told her. She just doesn't seem to know how to listen."

I blush as I write this. The angels are no doubt right. But I am going to keep trying to hear what God wants.

So I shall take courses. Pray. Feed the birds. Make snow angels.

I do, however, hear what Pope Francis says and know he is right. "Life is a journey. When we stop, things don't go so well."

(Lasha Morningstar lasha@wcr.ab.ca)