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Being made ready: Let us dance in the moment

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Dennis MacDonald | Shutterstock

Jennifer Hubbard - published on 12/05/23

They say that if a season is rushed it can cause disastrous effects ... I’ve seen it happen.
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After 10 years, one would think that spying the first leaf dancing quietly to the ground would elicit a predictable response, and yet it doesn’t. Each year my heart constricts in an awareness of the coming season. My Catherine loved when the leaves fell. Nose to the heavens, arms stretching to the east and west, she would spin amid the crescendo of colored leaves cascading from the trees. I can still hear her laugh as she spun the year she died, 10 years ago. 

I recently saw a single leaf swirl to the ground and paused in the realization a new season was approaching. Time: It is marching forward and yet my heart feels as if it has been suspended in a season that has spanned years. When the leaves, now falling, were mere buds on the branches, I lulled the lonely by assuring myself that with spring comes the emergence of new life. Perhaps spring would deliver me out of this season of waiting. Spring eased into summer, and I thought perhaps summer adventures would catapult me into my next season of life. It did not.  

Seasons, they ebb and flow, building upon one another; they say that if a season is rushed it can cause disastrous effects. I’ve seen it happen — that, too, was about 10 years ago, around this time of year. An October ice storm shut the town down for weeks. Downed trees, road closures, power outages that spanned seven days. To the chagrin of my children, Halloween was cancelled. I later heard that had the storm come through a few months later, it would have been an uneventful New England winter storm. I was told the reason this one was different was that there were leaves on the trees. The weight the leaves accumulated from the ice and snow was too much for the branches and they snapped. 

The seasons: They serve a purpose in their preparation. Seeds buried under thick blankets of dirt are forming the shoots that will produce flowers in the spring, fruit that will ripen in the summer and be harvested in the fall. There is no start and end date, no calendar circle that determines the sprout will break through to daylight, and yet it happens. Perhaps the same is true of my own season of waiting. Perhaps in what feels utter darkness, my heart is emerging in ways I do not yet know. 

I watched the leaf as it swirled to the ground, sighed deep in an incomprehensible ache that longs for Catherine, and paused in the realization that perhaps I take her cue — and instead of deciding what will be the end of this season, I bask in what it is now, and dance in the glory of this moment, of being made ready for that which is to come. 


This is part of the series called “The Human Being Fully Alive” found here.

DeathThe Human Being Fully Alive
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