If I could choose one season in which to live eternally, it would undoubtedly be fall: when the leaves start to change, the air smells of mist and cloves and my favorite apple orchard, Curran’s, begins selling its much coveted apple cider doughnuts.
To me, there’s nothing more beautiful than fall: its sights, its smells, and the emotion its return evokes. I was reminded of the latter this past Tuesday at my monthly pregnancy loss support group. In truth, I’ve only attended 3 times, but sitting among women who bear the same scars, helps me embrace my truth: I am childless but not less because I am without child.
Our meeting, usually led by one mediator, was led by two that day. The addition, let’s call her Hope, again reflected my true self back to me: that of a survivor who is inking her edges with truth, much like the autumn leaves ink theirs with vibrant color.
Hope began talking about the changing seasons and how it is a standing metaphor for the seasons of our lives. Of course, I had heard that before, but it sounded different, sweeter maybe, coming from her. I noticed her hands lay upon two piles of construction paper leaves, one dark and one light, and imagined her sitting in the quiet of her kitchen tracing their lines, then delicately cutting along their penciled edges. Perhaps she was drinking cider at the time, wrapped in a fluffy sweater, as she thought about how she’d been where we now are. How, like me, she’d suffered 3 losses; and how, unlike me, she is now mother to four living children.
She looked at her small, untidy piles and told us that the first leaf represented something we’d like the winds of fall to blow away, or, put in my heart vernacular, something we’d like to sacrifice on autumn’s altar. As she passed out the leaves, I thought about those winds and that altar and only one word came to mind:
I have been dealing with an abundance of frustration lately, most of it directed toward myself, but some of it reserved for R and the place we find ourselves in. And sadly, I’ve allowed that emotion to steal my joy, robbing me of a purpose that is greater than me or any loss I have suffered: that of a bloomingspider, who spins webs of truth to net hearts.
So, I laid that emotion on the altar, placed a hand over my heart and slowly backed away.
It remains there. And I remain here.
The second leaf was a gift to give ourselves. What flooded my heart was this:
The courage I write about is two-fold: the courage to walk toward another try with fullness of heart and spirit, as well as the courage to accept a childless life, if that is where this path leads. Neither will be easy, I know. But I’d like to think that I can look both in the eye and be better on the other side of whichever awaits.
The winds of fall blow in and out. If we allow, they can rid us of untruths, traumas and the plague of closed fists, filling us instead with gifts wrapped in the jewel-toned paper of grace and the billowing ribbon of acceptance.
As always, it is a choice.
And one I hope we’ll both make.
Until I spin my next web,