This Cataclysm of Making and Unmaking

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The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many.
~Oliver Wendell Holmes

 

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Everything is made to perish;
the wonder of anything at all is that it has not already done so.
No, he thought.
The wonder of anything is that it was made in the first place.
What persists beyond this cataclysm of making and unmaking?

~Paul Harding from Tinkers

 

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Earthly contentment
~whether the house stayed dry in a flood
or a forest passed over in a wildfire
or a devastating diagnosis averted
or a bank account contained sufficient funds
or gray hairs remain successfully hidden~
won’t last.

May I not settle for comfort and contentment
but seek to fill
my continual need
with what will not perish,
even as the leaves turn yellow
and the light begins to fade,
and rest assured
as the seasons pass, altering the landscape,
I too must be changed.

 

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Ensnared By Summer

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August rushes by like desert rainfall,
A flood of frenzied upheaval,
Expected,
But still catching me unprepared.
Like a match flame
Bursting on the scene,
Heat and haze of crimson sunsets.
Like a dream
Of moon and dark barely recalled,
A moment,
Shadows caught in a blink.
Like a quick kiss;
One wishes for more
But it suddenly turns to leave,
Dragging summer away.
–  Elizabeth Maua Taylor

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What wondrous life is this I lead!
Ripe apples drop about my head;
The luscious clusters of the vine
Upon my mouth do crush their wine;
The nectarine and curious peach
Into my hands themselves do reach;
Stumbling on melons, as I pass,
Ensnared with flowers, I fall on grass.
–  Andrew Marvell, Thoughts in a Garden

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The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many.
~Oliver Wendell Holmes

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My life is like the summer rose
That opens to the morning sky,
But ere the shades of evening close
Is scattered on the ground – to die.
–  Richard Henry Wilde

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First Gray Hair

photo by Josh Scholten

“The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many.”
~Oliver Wendell Holmes

I remember a day before I turned 30 when a barber pulled a gray hair from my head and handed it to me.  “Here you go, ” she said,  “this is only the beginning.”

Indeed.  My mother was totally gray by 32 and my hope was to hold onto my light brown hair until at least 50.

It didn’t seem possible I could be losing my “freshness” so young as 29, but double the years with an exponential increase in the number of gray hairs, and I must face facts.  Quite a few years ago on my 45th birthday, as I was walking down the sidewalk at work, a middle-aged woman stopped me mid-stride and asked me what brand hair coloring I used.  I was taken completely off-guard.  All I could respond was that I used no hair coloring other than what God Himself applied.  She laughed and said she would have to keep looking then, as she was hoping I could direct her to a hair color that would make her hair look like “champagne” just like mine.   I floated for three days on that thought alone.

Champagne.  So I wasn’t “one season too many” after all.  I was “well-aged.”

I sympathize with the not-so-fresh foliage on the farm in late summer. In anticipation of autumn, some of the yellow leaves simply give up and let go, flying in the wind to their final resting place, even in early September.  Others decide to hang on until the bitter end ~yellowing, goldening, reddening and browning in a shimmering kaleidoscope of exhausted pigment.

I am one of those hanging on, quaking at times in the breezes, bedraggled in the drizzle, tattered on the edges, with some age spots here and there.  I’m determined to make the best of the gray and am proud of every strand I’ve earned over the years and hope to earn a bunch more before I’m done.

After all…it isn’t really gray.  It is champagne, well aged, with bubbles sparkling in the sun.

Photos of the “gray hairs” showing up around the farm as of today