When the stars are aligned for me, my Saturday rituals bring me great joy and life. More often than not, the Dads have the boys on Friday nights so Linda and I can sleep-in on Saturday mornings. I like to get up about 7:45, put a White Horse Question on facebook, brush my teeth, make a to-go iced tea and head out the door. Around an hour later I’ve walked to Evans to meet my buddies in Booth 25 for breakfast. For 6 years or so Susie, Kimberly, Ellen, Anita and I have been sharing eggs and sharing life stories. We hold one another’s hearts and dreams ~ tears and laughter. It’s a gift. It’s a moment-in-time one Saturday at a time. And when the plates are cleaned and the coffee is consumed ("One more cup?") and all the stories of the week have been shared with one another, I walk on back home. Along the way I like to call a cousin or two in CA or WA and check in.
And all along the way, I watch the seasons change.
Today near the end (or beginning, I’m never sure) of Clairemont Road there was a ginkgo tree shedding her leaves. I’ve learned that this is a one-day event. Sometimes it’s only a matter of hours. Branch by branch, leaf by leaf there is a shedding, a letting go of this year’s leaves. It’s sad and wonderful. It’s holy to watch. It’s one of those times that if you blink you’ll miss it. And each time I am able to witness it, I’m reminded of how precious it is ~ this life we are living. Cars were driving by, young folks and old folks were walking by sharing conversations ~ everybody was on their way somewhere else. I felt like the tree and I were in another world. Time seemed to stand still standing there beside the tree.
Today I wanted everyone, everything to stop. To watch. To witness this moment. For this tree and her leaves. The ultimate letting go. I wanted everyone to share in this life-change in this change of season that would only happen this one day for this season for the life of this tree.
So I stopped. I watched. I witnessed this shower of yellow leaves gently falling. When the breeze blew it seemed as though 100 leaves were falling at once. Mostly it was a dozen falling at a time. Every now and then a single leaf fell.
Today I give thanks for rituals of life that keep me connected to what is steady and to what is changing and to what makes me so very happy. And today I give thanks that I was able to witness this one moment with this Ginkgo tree. I hope I long remember the grace of all of it.
Working as a Hospice Chaplain, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.