“I loved autumn, the one season of the year that God seemed to have put there just for the beauty of it.”- Lee Maynard
Oh, my friends.
October started so hard.
On October 1st, during what should have been an evening of fun and music, a gunman shot and killed 59 people and injured more than 500 others at a concert.
I was sad and worried for my friends and family in Las Vegas. Perhaps, like me, you felt the collective pain of a billion hearts breaking, and so many minds trying to process the loss of innocent souls, and the horror of a news story that made no sense.
I couldn’t mesh the dark violence and grief with the insistent, shimmering October beauty all around me.
October 5th brought the news of sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Soon, millions of women and men were sharing their own heartbreaking #MeToo experiences. The stories kept coming, along with the sad, eye-opening truth that far too many of us have experienced sexual harassment or abuse.
Then the butterflies arrived in Colorado.
The Painted Ladies fluttered and lingered in our yards and gardens, so many migrating through Denver that a 70-mile swath appeared on the National Weather Service map in glorious color.
In typical Colorado fashion, we had record high temperatures as well as snow and a hard frost mid-month.
Then the trees began releasing their leaves in earnest. We do not lack for leaves in our yard. I try to focus on the beauty, and not the leaf-raking tasks that still lie ahead.
On the third weekend of October my son and I left the autumn leaves behind and took a short trip to the West Coast, where we stayed in a hotel with weak, intermittent Wi-Fi. At first I was annoyed by that.
But later? I began to feel grateful for the technology break. Early each morning while my son caught up on his sleep, I walked down by the Dana Point Harbor marina. I followed a well-worn footpath among the eucalyptus trees to the quiet beach, and put my toes in the water.
And then my birthday came, with love and gifts and cards and greetings….and a family party and my favorite chocolate pecan birthday cake, made by my dear mama.
Now October is winding down, and the #MeToo stories keep pouring in. Numerous news outlets report that many of the Las Vegas shooting victims can’t pay for their enormous medical bills. I have so many deep concerns about the state of our world right now. I never want to become complacent about violence or hatred or harming our earth.
And at the same time, as I reflect on the month I feel deeply grateful for all the goodness and blessings and love. I feel darned glad for another birthday.
There is so much beauty all around us, and at the same time things occur every day in our modern world that are unbearable. How do we begin to reconcile the extremes?
On her 61st birthday, author Anne Lamott wrote this:
“All truth is a paradox. Life is a precious unfathomably beautiful gift, and it is impossible here. It is so hard and weird that we wonder if we are being punked. And it is filled with heartbreaking sweetness and beauty, floods and babies, and acne and Mozart, all swirled together.”
As this month of darkness and light draws to a close, may we not lose heart.
We each have missions and causes that stir our hearts. We are each equipped with different gifts and talents. In our own individual ways, each of us can be courageous and create positive change.
I’ve gotten to know many of you through this blog, and I know in my bones that in a world of both breathtaking wonders and heartbreaking evil, we will continue to send out beauty and light and love.
Hugs and gratitude,