I've been watching the trees so much lately. Madison moves a bit slower than the forests up north, so this week marks the end of the oranges, reds & yellows for the year. One maple in front of the apartment has been desperately trying to hold onto it's foliage - giving the effect of a balding, medieval monk. As funny as it looks, I understand the need to keep the things we know and love. Let's face it, for many of us, change scares the crap out of us. One day we're sprouting buds, and the next day we're losing them again. And while that usually takes years - or in the tree's case, one year - I feel like the change in my life has come like some kind of midnight frost, and all of a sudden I'm buck naked for the winter.
To start, my second niece was born in early August, and already her baptism is coming up in two weeks. My husband and I acted as godparents for my first niece at her baptism. We were so nervous because, although we have been in a church before, neither of us had ever been in any kind of Christian ceremony. The two of us kind of stood like doufuses as the minister gingerly guided us through each step of the process - like he was teaching ballroom dancing to the rhythmically challenged. Everyone was grinning at us the whole time because my sister-in-law had explained to the minister that I was Wiccan, my husband was humanist, her husband was atheist, her parents were recovering Catholic/Seventh Day Adventist, and she was United Church of Christ. He was so happy to hear about a family coexisting amongst religious differences that I think he almost wet his pants. Thankfully, he didn't. But he did end up giving a sermon about religious tolerance. So our family ended up being the visual aide for the entire congregation the week after. This time we're not the godparents, but we still get to go and see my niece swimming around in a yard or two of baptism gown.
I must say I'll need a good celebration of life. After choosing to be off her medication several weeks ago, my last, & favorite, grandma passed away yesterday in her sleep. She would tell me I'm not supposed to have favorites, but I'll never break the love I've had for her since I was old enough to have lasting memories. She was always the grandma that spoiled me rotten (Once she sent me home with two bags of M&M's disguised in a purse she had given me. My parents were none the wiser until they saw the empty bags two hours later and the inevitable sugar high that would last most of the car trip home.). But she was always the grandma that supported me in every way, telling me, "Lauren, you can do whatever you want in life as long as you're happy and healthy. ... But don't get old! You're not allowed to get old!" Every person has that certain smell, too. And yesterday I buried my face in an afghan my grandma had given me just to take it in again. She smelled like flowery perfume, polyester, and fabric softener; she smelled like the 50's. My grandma is the person that, if I could have been selfish and held onto her just a bit longer, I would have in a second.
But if the season teaches us anything, it's that nature and life have a way of balancing themselves out. And while no one will ever be able to replace my grandma, there are always those to celebrate who are with you through those hard times. Last weekend my best friend finally got married after dating/being-engaged-to his girlfriend/fiance for five years. The wedding day was fairly chaotic, with the florist not being able to get the correct flowers, being an hour & a half late, and delivering the flowers to the wrong church. The bride, who is usually a happy camper, was not. The hair stylist ended up only booking one chair for the bride instead of the whole party, and the veil almost got crushed in the bottom of a suitcase. Luckily, the flowers got there in time, the hair got did, and my friend saved the veil by blowing it smooth with a hair dryer. When it finally came time to watch the bride walk up the aisle, I was focused on the groom's face. We've been best friends for years, and the look on his face when his fiance came in was the same one he gets when he decides that something is going to be fun. It's also possible that he was telling himself a joke. We stayed up all night partying and swing dancing (And I gave a quick toast that was just fine. Although, I kind of forgot to actually give a toast. That's okay, the groom covered for me.).
It's these moments that mesh together to make life; and frankly, I sometimes think I've had enough of it. The seasons move on though, and we try to accommodate, mourn and celebrate every moment and every memory as much as we can. I'm reminded of the first Samhain ritual I ever attended, and the first Samhain chant I ever learned:
I do not seek to stop,
To stop the wheel of change.
I do not seek to stop the wheel of change.
But to dance.
Yes to dance.
Let us dance in it's turning.