From the Priest Associate
Fall Song by Mary Oliver
Another year gone, leaving everywhere
its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,
the uneaten fruits crumbling damply
in the shadows, unmattering back
from the particular island
of this summer, this NOW, that now is nowhere
except underfoot, moldering
in that black subterranean castle
of unobservable mysteries – roots and sealed seeds
and the wanderings of water. This
I try to remember when time’s measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn
flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing
to stay – how everything lives, shifting
from one bright vision to another, forever
in these momentary pastures.
There’s no denying that the season has changed. I can see homes from my writing desk that were hidden by trees all summer. The sun is rising in a different place on the horizon and setting earlier in the afternoon. The hummingbirds have flown south and so have many of our parish family. John Bennet and I are counting the days until we will also leave for our other home. We have such mixed feelings as we leave behind dear friends and return to precious family.
Mary Oliver’s poem reflects the wistfulness of autumn. There is indeed sadness in the passing of time and the anticipation of the harshness of winter in temperate climates. But we also know that this season of withdrawal is vital to the cycle of life that will burst forth next spring. Jesus said, ‘unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.’ It’s that time of year.
A surprising number of Americans claim that Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday. It certainly is mine. No commercials. No gifts to send in the mail. Just a table surrounded by people we love and a long, leisurely meal, maybe some football and a nap and kids running around in the yard. Leftovers. I especially love the leftovers.
And at the heart of it, gratitude to God for this precious life and all we have been so freely given.
It is with gratitude that I bid you all farewell for a season. It has been a blessing and a joy to have served God and this parish family as your interim interim for the past few months. I am grateful for the ways my soul has been enriched by our worship together and by friendships that have deepened. You are a grace filled family who will soon, I pray, welcome a very fortunate new rector. John Bennet and I will think of you fondly from the wilds of Texas and look forward to seeing you in the spring.
Blessings and love, Margaret+