I Live on a Big Round Ball

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

Mimsy and I stepped out for our evening walk. For the first time this season, I noticed my breath coming out in whispy, white vapors. I had already grabbed a coat, one that hadn’t been worn for eight months. At least for now Mimsy was going to have to do with her natural fur coat. She didn’t mind. The crisp air seemed to invigorate her, she sniffed deeply before jumping and prancing around, crashing noisily through the fallen leaves. A month earlier, the dominant sounds would have been of crickets, katydids, cicadas and tree frogs. They are dormant, silent now, waiting patiently as our planet makes its yearly circuit around the sun.

It’s a transitional season. The trees around us are in the process of a wardrobe change. The lawn is still green and what little can be seen of it contrasts sharply against the fallen leaves. Most of the leaves are of brilliant hues. Even on this cloudy day at dusk they seem to glow as if powered by leftover energy from the sun, gathered throughout the summer and saved for this moment.

Our house is 127 years old, ancient by some standards, young by other standards. Much like myself. My grandchildren consider me old, while my mother considers me young. My aging is different from the trees, we both add a little girth each year, but my body doesn’t change with the seasons. Regardless of their age, and many are older than our house, the trees follow an ordained sequence as our planet circles and tilts closer and further from the sun. In a few weeks most of the leaves will have fallen, leaving the tree limbs bare against the ultramarine winter skies. But they are not dead, they are resting, waiting until our globe circles a little further around the sun.

The next season will bring new life, the trees will be maids again, donning brilliant, fresh spring greens. They will call to the birds, “Come build your nests in my branches, as your parents and the parents before them have done.” The tree frogs will find crevices and nooks, safe places, shaded from the sun in the same trees. New generations of cicadas and katydids will join them and again fill the neighborhood with joyful choruses.

A few months later, the maids will become dowagers. They will wear clothes of dark green, sliding toward browns before autumn calls once again and they shed their garments in luminous shades of yellow and gold.

Mimsy and I walk down the sidewalk. I think of seasons, of cycles, of rhythms. Mimsy thinks mostly of squirrels and of scents hidden under the fallen leaves, the origins of which I prefer to be left undiscovered.

I think again of turnings and rotations. In just a few weeks we will celebrate another cycle around the sun. We will throw parties. We will look backward and recall the events of the past year. We will raise a glass in memory of those we have lost. For some we will say, “Good riddance,” and to others we will say, “How will we go on without them,” and we resolve to one day be in the latter group. We will attempt to look forward, wondering what the new year will bring. And we will make grand resolutions.

These turnings are a part of our existence. They bring new life and death. The cycles will continue, I have no say in the matter. I am just along for the ride, an observer. We have the big ones, the yearly circle around the sun, but we also have ones that occur every day.

Every twenty-four hours we have a cycle, a turning. It is so common that we forget its miracle. Each day we have a new beginning, a new opportunity. An opportunity to be that person of whom it will be said, “How will we go on without them.”

For some reason we save our resolutions for the big, once-a-year rotation. We make New Year’s resolutions based on grand, ambitious, but often un-achievable goals.

What if instead, we made 365 micro-resolutions. A daily declaration to do something small but attainable.  Learning a new word, walking past the food-table at the office without picking up a cookie, making the effort to show an unexpected kindness.

Mimsy and I head home. I’m pretty sure she is focused on the treat that awaits her upon our return. I’m focused on my micro-resolution. Let’s see if I can get through my commute tomorrow without hitting the horn … not even once. That seems doable. Check back later.

Poppy

I live on a big round ball
I never do dream I may fall
And even one day if I do
Well, I’ll jump off and smile back at you.

I don’t even know where we are
They tell you we’re circling a star
Well, I’ll take their word, I don’t know
But I’m dizzy so it may be so.

I’m riding a big round ball
I never do dream I may fall
And even the high must lay low
But when I do fall I’ll be glad to go
Yeah, when I do fall I’ll be glad to go.

 
Songwriter: Jesse Winchester
Defying Gravity lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

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