A Yearly Ticking

“The colors, the cool breeze, the way the sun sits a little lower in the sky, just there, over the rooftop, in the late afternoon. Red and yellow leaves are mixed with browning ones on her lawn and under the bushes in the garden. They have gathered at the triangles at either side of the garage doors. She is in no hurry to rake and bag them. She cuts across her lawn, noting the crunch as she heads right, around the bend to Webster then south to Hewlett Avenue toward Sunrise Highway and the Long Island Rail Road. Woodbine is her favorite block. The colonial and Tudor houses, the trees and the gardens, are an advertisement for autumn in the suburbs of New York.

There are big lush oaks and elms with patches of bark chipped away and birds calling, still here,awk, still here. This is nature at its showiest, Jenny thinks. Some argue for spring and summer but for her this is the time when earth is at its fullest, its wisest, so to speak. It is the atmosphere for contemplation, for gathering wisdom, for quiet time to put some order on the chaos of the eruptions of spring and summer.

She thinks of the old trees as wise, but smiles as she wonders why wise and old are so often paired. Surely she has known enough old fools in her life, people who managed to tick out the seconds of their clock without softening, without deepening into their wrinkles and soft bellies. Isn’t the trade off for some frailty a dose of wisdom? Is it a choice, she wonders, or a disposition?

 These thoughts stroll through her as she breathes in the sweet air of decaying leaves, delighted at the bit of red, blown and dancing on autumn's breath. Thank you, God, for letting me walk, for letting me see again this beautiful garment of autumn, the colors and the sun splitting its rays through these branches that have survived season after season. Most older than me, older than my mother and grandmother. 

Jenny sees this showing of colors as a message from God to get our attention before we waste any more time. You can still understand, grieve, and allow pain to take root and grow compassion in your soul.

The sun falling lower in the sky and that breeze, just a bit chill, not yet cold, reminds us, grounds us. A yearly ticking, the bass sound of it gathering depth through the blanket of leaves. Forgiveness and generosity and abundance need to be our first things, not our last.GeneMc-8

She winds her way back to her house, goes in and sets the kettle to boil. When it whistles she fills a cup and lets a tea bag steep. The back porch that needs cement work and some new wood around the screens is one of her favorite parts of this house. It is far from perfect and for this she is glad."

Excerpt From: Julianne B. McCullagh. “The Narrow Gate.” iBooks. https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewBook?id=4CDEDFAAADF3D35D308A2D56A8947FED

Excerpt From: Julianne B. McCullagh. “The Narrow Gate.” iBooks. https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewBook?id=4CDEDFAAADF3D35D308A2D56A8947FED