In the planter outside, there’s been an explosion. Small flowers and greens carefully tucked into their basket at summer’s beginning are now lush, big, delightful at summer’s end. Riotous, extravagant bounty just there on my front porch.
On the back side of the garage, another summer sign. When I told him what I wanted and dropped one powerful word (birthday), he’d assented. And by the time The Day arrived, it had been ordered, delivered and hung. Color and happiness. Sunny mornings. Summer’s bounty.
For all the bright and happy and vibrant colors of summer, there were threads of grey. Shades of grief. Sorrow smudges. For with one phone call, the colors change, and life’s ever altered in a heart’s beat.
We hadn’t planned, we Schrock Ten, to be sorting possessions. To prepare for a sale. To dispense with his earthly leavings. We sure hand’t. But that’s what we did this past summer.
While moms and dads made decisions, boxed antiques, sorted tools, the cousins, they took to the woods. Glancing up from our work, I’d see them–a pack of sweaty boys, moving up the hill where awaited a fort, excitement, adventure. They were Robin Hood and merry men. They were a club with initiations. They were fearless and brave. They were heroes.
They climbed fences, brandished sticks. They argued and made up. They sported scratches and scrapes and that dirt. So much dirt.
Hours later, looking up, I’d see them again. A band of cousins, of boys. Of friends, traveling back down the hill. Together.
Odd, how quickly a life can be dismantled. I’d not known before how it happens. I know now.
Odd, too, how the death of a parent can either draw siblings close or drive them apart. To see them choose the former was a blessing. Summer’s bounty.
Yes, colors change. Seasons do, too, and the tree by the road gives the witness.
Now it’s fall. School’s well underway, and once more, a boy at our house has been running.He runs, Mother yells, and with father and brothers, we all tramp ’round the course, and we holler.All for one!
Little Schrock’s settled in, too, and he’s loving his teacher. He was heartened to learn it was a “he,” Mr. Sheets.
Just as he did with swimming lessons this year, he’s thrown himself in, heart and soul, to his studies, being careful to eat a good breakfast. Of protein.
We hit it hard to prepare for the test when the paper with polygons came home. We drilled and we studied, and he did very well. Then 9-11 came, and he announced to his brother that, “Two planes hit the towers, and one plane hit the Hexagon.”
We laughed, and I emailed his teacher. Who laughed, too.
Little, as it turns out, is even looking toward next fall. Why, only the other day, he informed me that his brother (the runner) gets to vote for the next president. “He’ll turn 18 right before the next auction,” he said brightly.
Of course, we laughed. Again. And felt that perhaps he had nailed it, modern politics in the U.S. of A.
Meanwhile, I’m settling into season. As I told my friends on Facebook recently, “This is how the Schrocks welcome fall: they make their annual pilgrimage to the Yankee Candle store. They mill around, scouring the shelves, sniffing high, sniffing low. Once there’s unity among the sniffers, they bag up enough jar candles, votives, new lamp shades and other paraphernalia to power a small village. Then the match is lit. And Autumn has officially begun.”
Yes, we did. Yes, it has. Yes, we’re ready.