Fall is nearing it's last golden days, always a poignant time of year for me, my favorite in some ways, but a time that brings it's portion of sadness. Watching the leaves falling, falling, I realize that spring is still far far away, that many months of winter's cold are ahead. Winter with her own white beauty, an ambiguous time none-the-less.
Agatha races up the long hill towards the house, far ahead of me. Her ears flying, her feet skimming the ground like those of a much younger dog. She dances to a halt halfway up to the top and turns facing me with eyes dancing with joy. She loves our evening walks, and as we get close to home she turns the last quarter mile into a self-appointed race to the kitchen door. She stands with plumed tail awag, panting a bit, as if to say "come on mom, isn't this fun, we're almost there!"
I went to see mother at the nursing home today. I've made her room as pleasant as pictures and cozy blankets, autumn flowers and a whole host of guilt-appeasing purchases can make it. Outside her sunny window, I've placed feeders for her beloved birds, even a large window box (which I'm sure is not allowed) full of fall pansies, blooming. Cheery orange and purple little faces all oblivious to the sadness within those walls.
Mother's dementia and heart failure have made it out of the question for her to be anywhere but there in that place. They are kind to her, I visit often, I come, always bearing gifts. She finds forming a sentence nearly impossible these days, and I sit beside her, trying to make her laugh, trying to reach inside that crowding darkness.
And so I walk up the long hill home, and I watch my good dog Agatha. I think of life and how wonderful it is, how heartbreakingly beautiful, how full of sorrow. I look at Agatha and childless, I mourn what I know will be the soon loss of my mother, I watch my little dog and wonder how many days I will have her at my feet for comfort.
This isn't really the place for soul-searching perhaps, for such heartfelt ponderings. But we all have our griefs don't we? It is our human condition. Oh, but I look toward the sky and as the sun sets in a blaze of purple-golden light, I think of Heaven. I know mother will be freed soon from her sad time of waiting. I know that I can trust Him with Agatha, with all the burdens of my heart. And I'm comforted, by the thought of mother tucked into her bed tonight with a cozy blanket, with her little stuffed dog at her side. I'm comforted as my good dog, Agatha, dances with eyes alight, saying clearly that it's time to go back home.