Another season brings its possibilities and blessings


Last updated 10/3/2023 at 10:55am

Feeling the next season on cool morning air, I’m filled with nostalgia for another waning summer. Buddy’s copper coat is fluffing up. Pulling a rubber curry comb from a dusty tack box in the barn, his slick summer hair pulls free as my gloved hand moves in circular motions from his neck to his shoulders, back, and rump. When I tap the grooming tool against the railing of our arena, a perfect replica of the tool’s oval insides comes away in concentric reflections of dust and short summer fur leaving his body. When the horses begin to shed, we know the next season is coming. Whether we’re ready or not.

Summer was especially delicious, with our daughter marrying her sweetheart under a giant juniper tree. Getting ready for three days of celebration, complete with doggie guests, camping, and beloveds from across the country, was sometimes trying but so worth the result. We watched our daughter’s dear friend act as officiant at a ceremony where dogs were included and honoring the couple included four-leggeds and humans howling in celebration of their commitment.

For three days we were taken by a tide of loved ones. Everyone helped, preparing meals, wrangling pups, arranging flowers, and ensuring everyone was included in conversation, dancing, and comfort. All the organizing, cleaning, and planning brought in a floodtide of blessings. The weather was just right, the Central Oregon sunset gorgeous, and the evening air cooled as we danced to a set of eclectic music reflecting generations of song and rhythm.

Now, thank you notes are being written, photographs curated, and the last bit of leftover beer and wine is slowly disappearing. The dogwood leaves are turning red, the rabbitbrush is blooming yellow, and another breath of smoke has turned the distinct silhouette of Black Butte into fading shadow. The brush and trees we cleared before the wedding lie shriveled, brown, and brittle, ready for the match after the first snow. There’s more to do… always more to do. The thought is tiring and exciting. The question is can our Baby-Boomer bodies handle it?

Pondering that thought, I hear the crinkling of a plastic bag as sandwiches are made for a day in the office. The dog’s nails clink on wooden floors and their collars jingle after their morning jaunt up the butte. Soon the noise will change.

A new home will be bought, and our daughter and son-in-love will live in Bend. I will move through a quieter house. The espresso maker’s grinding and frothing will reverberate from another countertop. I’m spoiled by the perfect lattes, more delicious than any I’ve ever tasted. Dinner will be different too. Instead of five people around my great-grandparents’ dining table, it’ll be my hubby, my next-door-neighbor mom, and me. Our time together is sweet and cherished, but I’ll miss the younger energy, laughter, and talking about each other’s day.

Soon it’ll be officially fall. I’m grateful we dodged another fire. Writing this, I’m compelled to knock on wood… just in case. Chores will change with the season. The horses need another grooming, and the hens more wood shavings in their nests. Soon everyone’s coats will be fluffy and full. When I ride, I’ll have to take care not to catch any hair in the cinch as I tighten up the girth for a dusty ride in the BLM. We’ll head out on older, eager horses into public land. Sometimes we run across a lone doe or a coyote. Both will begin to lay low with hunting season approaching. We’ll wear bright colors, talk loudly, and hope an arrow or bullet doesn’t find its way in our direction. We’ll hear the cracks and booms of folks sighting their guns. I used to stay away during hunting season. But after a few years of letting anxiety have the last word, I’ve shifted into going anyway. I’m tired of letting fear shrink my world down to four walls. Who knows when my last season will come, whether from an errant bullet or another deadly dance with cancer. I joke with my riding partner… if I get hit; just make it a clean shot!

The seasons will come. The work must be done, just as play must be prioritized. I can feel the pull of the tide and won’t fight it. I’ll let it lift me up and carry me toward what’s next. I’ll do what I can to stay afloat and go with the current. I know all rivers lead to the source. The ocean waits… sometimes calm, sometimes roiling in rage. I’ll get there soon enough. For now, I’ll focus on enjoying the ride and welcoming each season for its possibilities and blessings.


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