Emerald Heart

Hard, cold rain woke us this morning. In her pajamas, my younger daughter knelt dreamily at the window and murmured, I love the sound of rain, while my teenager rolled over with news it was a bad idea to get up.

Vermont has officially tipped into autumn. I can’t even desire a last swim. Before long, heat will derive from our woodpile and not the sun. Listening to the rain in the lightless, early morning, I woke from a dream where my pole beans, whose bounty is toughening inedibly, threaded through a late-night conversation with my teenager. Her steps into the adult world are just beginning. Worried, she frets this particular door or that has already shut for her.

I counsel her in my own blunt way: all our lives, doors bang closed; a shut door is nothing personal; be persistent, find another door or window sash that yields to your knock, and enter. One of the best pieces of advice a school board colleague gave me was to value curiosity, to regard insatiable inquiry as a fundamental skill, and follow – fearlessly or with fear jackhammering in your pulse – but pursue.

Perhaps naturally, my daughter sees happiness as a pearl she must descend through uncharted waters to obtain, a glowing prize at the end of a journey, a rare gem she might secret in her pocket.

Where I live on this planet bends presently toward gold and scarlet, soon to fade and fall into brown crumbles. Bare branches are not long in the offing. Yet, this week, the riverbank farm fields along my road sprouted slender shoots of winter rye: vibrant growth in the midst of a world that might appear only fading, solely headed toward hibernation. Illusion.

Here’s a few lines from what I’m reading now:

There’s a mythical element to our childhood, it seems, that stays with us always. When we are young, we consume the world in great gulps, and it consumes us, and everything is mysterious and alive and fills us with desire and wonder, fear, and guilt. With the passing of the years, however, those memories become distant and malleable, and we shape them into the stories of who we are. We are brave, or we are cowardly. We are loving, or we are cruel.

Eowyn Ivey, To The Bright Edge of the World

Hardwick, Vermont