I was looking through some writings I did a few years ago and came across this essay. As I sit in my almost empty house, laundry all caught up and all the time in the world for at least this day, I am reminded of how fleeting time is even more. These are the oaks I write about although a few weeks ahead of the season of the essay.
Will these kids ever pick up their dirty clothes? Do they think this is all I have to do with my life, pick up after them? I grab a basket and moan and groan to myself when the scene outside my window grabs my attention.
The ancient oak trees stand like an army of withered cartoon broccoli beyond the crystallized lake. No, wait! The trees are a blaze of golden jewels as the early morning light begins to shift, the gleam of the rising sun softly kissing their jumbled facets. I hold my breath as if that could capture the moment and etch the majesty indelibly into my memory. The weight of the laundry basket cuts into my hip as the brilliance of the precious metal melts like a chocolate kiss on a warm tongue, teasing my senses with a soft, oozing invitation to let the morning chores dissolve into the glory of nature. That is more important than laundry, beds and dishes, right? Just as I begin to let my self relax, I am sharply brought back to attention. The trees have morphed again. The light has shifted and dead, scraggly branches reach up like a skeleton’s boney fingers reaching from the grave.
My moment of melancholy reverie disappears as I pick up the plastic laundry basket and head to the frosty white task masters awaiting my arrival with the cold enthusiasm of a prison warden. As I absently sort and load, the gentle but swift changing of the trees peaks my interest. Is all the world an illusion? One minute bright and the next dismal? The trees have been standing there for hundreds of years. They did not change. Only the perception I brought to them changed. Of course this morning, the brilliant rising sun was the catalyst, but how many mornings do I look at the same” thing” and see my own interpretation and not the true nature of the “thing” at all? I go about my morning business, hang up a coat, pick up shoes, take the dog out. I head for the laundry room. The wardens were gone. The warm, sweet smell of fresh clothes, soap and softener great me. The soft rumbles of the machines are as familiar to me as my own grumbling tummy. I smile as I begin to fold the clothes. Another “love” chore that weaves the fabric of my day into the comforting garment of my life.