Tuesday, November 01, 2005

"Thar's Gold in Them Thar Hills!"

On a recent trip to Bangor, I saw cars slow down in front of me and I groaned. I had forgotten about the never-ending construction, and after our heavy rains, I just knew the section of unpaved road would be bad. Following the lead of the other cars in front of me, I slowed down and together we winded our lethargic way across the uneven dirt.

I was on my way to meet Rachel and Caroline for toddlers' music class, and I didn't want to be late. I pride myself on my ability to be punctual (especially when Ed is not dragging his slow self with me) and I was mentally calculating how much later this road repair would make me. I was sure that every other driver was thinking the same thing. At that point, we all had something in common - frustrated impatience.

Finally the highway delivered us out of the construction zone, and all the drivers sped up to recover lost time. I pressed the accelerator, then had to release my foot immediately, because there before me was the most gorgeous display of fall foliage covering the mountains and nearby hills; it was splendor in gold! It took my breath away, and I slowed down. We've had a less-than-perfect autumn here in Maine, because the key ingredients to assure a colorful foliage season were lacking, and what the rain didn't destroy, the wind did. The color of the leaves that remained on the trees was on average not very brilliant. But the view on this stretch of highway was miraculously preserved.

I considered how my situation had reflected the busyness of our lives. We find ourselves in a boring waiting game and once the wait is over, we speed through the remaining journey in a mad rush to make up time - in the process, missing the gold. I thought it was so ironic that we drivers were required to crawl through the boring scenery, and just as the view turned spectacular, we were trying to drive so fast that most of us totally missed it. For me, it was when autumn 2005 redeemed itself - and I almost didn't notice.

Rachel is scheduled for her c-section next Monday. She told me that after Caroline was born, she was always looking ahead to the "firsts" - the first time she would roll over, the first time she would crawl, the first time she would walk. She said she really had looked forward to the time when Caroline could talk, and especially when she could say the word Mama. It was only when she began her second pregnancy, knowing it would be her last, that Rachel vowed to appreciate and enjoy each stage of the new baby's life, and not try to hurry through to the next milestone.

Ed says I have the most accidents when I go too fast. I also tend to miss some darn good scenery.


Rod said...

Ah, yes. Let us stop and smell the rose...view majestic (or not so majestic) quilt of fall...catch the stunning beauty of a skyscape...see the gleaming in a little one's eyes. It's all here Now, not yesterday or tomorrow.

here's another pieces I wrote, last fall, as the autumn beauty began to fade:

Autumn Embers

As scarlet flame begins to fade
To amber glow, a burning ember;
As Autumn winds strip limbs bare
And from falling hues a blanket is made,
Behold the views we must remember
When Winter frost regales the air.

This Autumn quilt of gold and red
Our Mother lays before her sleep,
To shield the cold that Winter brings,
And warm her in her icy bed.
She will slumber with the vow she keeps…
Returning with another Spring.

Carol Tiffin James said...

Thanks for sharing your lovely poem, Rod. Fall has always been my favorite season!