I did all of this, despite the fact that the sun had decided to give us one last display of her glorious power before she traveled south to our friends in the Southern Hemisphere. It was over 20 degrees (centigrade) on Sunday. An Indian Summer's day. And, I paused in my work to absorb as much sunshiny energy as I possibly could. I know I will need to remember such warmth existed when we are in the depths of Winter.
I am thankful we are not there yet.
For now, the firewood still sits, unlit, in the grate.
The fruitfulness and abundance of Autumn always makes me pause for thought. I look at the flowers that peep over my windowsill, growing tall and strong from the ground, several feet below. I remember planting those seeds in the Spring. Cheap seeds from the supermarket, an unspecified mix of flowers. I remember clearly, the feel of the earth under my fingernails as I covered those tiny seeds with soil, that same sun warming my back. And I can scarcely believe it possible that these flowers, Cosmos as it turns out, which are now taller than me, were ever such tiny, insignificant things, spilling from a paper envelope.
I look beyond my garden wall at the neighbours' pear tree, laden with fruit. At the Elder tree, black with glossy berries and find it hard to imagine how all of these things too were once barely there. Almost nothing. Yet, here they are, strong and rich and full of life.
I look at my children and I try hard to remember how they were just this time last year. Still so little. Their hair much shorter.Their independence only awakening. How could I have thought then that they were tall?! They have grown ever so much since.
I see glimpses of the future as they stride purposefully towards their preschool each morning, ready to take on the day. I see more and more of the 'girls' they are becoming. Sometimes it's in a facial expression, as they look out of the car window and I can't read their thoughts. Sometimes it's when they sit and draw at the kitchen table, quietly singing to themselves. Sometimes it's when I hold my breath and strain my ears to hear their conversations and catch snatches of a world I am not privy to. The independence I thought they had last year, so much more pronounced twelve short months later.
This time next year, I may well be here again, wondering at myself and asking how I could have possibly thought that they were almost little girls, when so clearly they were barely out of toddlerhood... but it's inevitable. They, like the flowers I nurtured this Summer, are growing. Moving ever forwards, unfurling ever outwards into the world. Stretching up and away and sooner than I know it, they too will be taller than me and I will have to close my eyes and try hard to remember that they were ever tiny, little, helpless things.
Again this year, it is a bittersweet reverie. On the one hand, I am happy and proud and so thankful that they are strong and full of life. I marvel at each and every step they take in their constant forward motion. On the other hand, I miss those chubby-cheeked babies. I miss their short wispy hair and even their exhausting dependency.
Again this year I am reminding myself to hold tight to these thoughts. To hold tight to their childhood and absorb as much of it as I can. Like the memory of bright sunshine will warm me in Winter, I think that sometime in the future, perhaps when they are almost grown and I can scarcely believe they have, I might need to remember that these gorgeous times existed. It is these magical days of warm sunshine and tall flowers, of simple abundance and joyful little children which will ready me to weather any future Winter.
Yet, I am thankful we are not there yet.
For now, I relish each and every day I get to spend with my growing girls.