Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Today's three mile solitary walk at the park today gave my mind time to ramble and try to get hold of several different threads which are twisting together into a sort of rope in my head.

The first dry leaves have fallen (why is that the only place we use the word /sere/?  Does /serious/ come from the same root of dried-outness? If so, no wonder people try not to be too serious. Who wants to have all the life dried out of them? ah well, the dictionary says no, different roots.)

So. It has been raining but stopped this morning and the top layer of leaves was dry enough to rustle when you kick through them. I got to thinking about my favorite sounds of fall. I often think of my favorite summer sounds but realized I don't have a mental list for fall. The sound of rustling leaves is surely on it, and the sound of acorns falling on a sunlight, and not sure what else. I will work on it.

As I kicked through the leaves I started thinking about two women who have died in the past week, two women who were important to me in my teen years. How can they be dead? It almost seems that if they were dead, the gift they were to me would be gone ~ and yet ~ I hold those gifts in my heart. 

First, Mrs Smith (now Mrs Dombart, but I think Mrs Smith because that was her name when she taught my high school English) died. I have not seen her since a year or two after high school but just loved her class and even  more than that, loved her. She had beautiful kind eyes and was patient with the slowest students in class, the ones who never knew a figure of speech and didn't get the allusions the rest of us were talking about. She helped me learn to love words and to know that it is a good thing to love words. She taught us that it was good to look at the beauty of a phrase and take joy in it. She helped me figure out how to quote a French passage in a paper written in English and gave me an undated hallpass to go "wherever (my) little heart desires." That image has served me well in life.

Then just a couple days later Marsha, who ~ along with her friend Shirley ~ led my youth group, died. I have only seen her now and then since high school, but what an encouragement she has been, even across generations. She encouraged my faith as I grew up. She went on all the retreats and talked us through things and played dumb games with us and listened to our teen problems. She made sure I had money in college for a typewriter. She encouraged me as we raised two kids with significant special needs, looked at my kids' photos when my Mum showed them off, and loved on them. She supported Hannah in her venture in China and let me know how proud she was of my family. My Mum taught a water aerobics class at the Y straight through her 70s and Marsh was one of her cheerleaders. And now Marsha rests with Christ.

As I was thinking, I saw a little snake on the path who did not move as I came near, kicking the leaves.  I realized it must be dead and used a stick to move it off the path because, well, it just seemed respectful. 

I suppose some runner must have crushed its head underfoot. I thought of One Who has "bruised the head" of the serpent, sharing in flesh that "through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery." I am so glad the power of death is gone.