A couple days ago a major cold-front came in and we had our first truly chilly night. The wind from the front destroyed my just-becoming-perfect-tomatoes which didn't matter because the drastic drop in temperature ruined them anyway. When I went outside to assess the damage to the vines it occurred to me that I would need to store our wooden outdoor furniture again. It isn't made to handle the snow and ice. I know, I know. Not the right kind of outdoor furniture for Colorado.
I love the look of wooden furniture ... even though I had to replace the set from last year ... because it was wood ... and wooden furniture isn't made for Colorado.
While standing in my yard debating when and how to store the set it occurred to me that I would most likely not be putting it back out. Not here at least. It would move from the patio to (most likely) the garage to a moving truck.
Every emotion hit at once. I stood in my backyard in tears, unable to move, trying to process. Every emotion that had been suppressed or discounted or misunderstood over the last six months barreled through me and poured out. Friends leaving. Us leaving. The road ahead for those staying, knowing I won't be walking it with them. Too fast. Too, too fast. I don't want to separate from so many people here. Friends I feel I have known a lifetime. Friends I want more time with. Friends I want to fight through what is ahead for them with them. Good friends that I don't want to let go of.
I don't want to go into PCS mode. I don't want to start with the "I'll just have to pack that up" reasoning when I see a small antique or knick-knack in a thrift store that I want. I don't want to take down what is on my walls. I don't want to take Logan from his school. I don't want to take him from his friends. I don't want to take Eli from our dear friend who loves him as her own. I don't want to think about how we are going to get the armoire in our room down the stairs without breaking the wall or our backs. I don't want to purge the things that don't need to move to the next place. I don't want to hand over our families to anyone else. I don't want to leave them. I don't want to move forward while they stay behind. I don't want to take Eli from his doctor and take the gamble with who he and Logan will get next. I don't want to leave my church. I don't want to leave our priest who will deploy with these soldiers. I am not ready to leave.
I have so much left to do.
Today I went in search of mums. Fall is my favorite season. I love the smells, the feeling in the air, the scarves, the boots, the football, the colors. It is one of the things I have learned to love about Colorado - we get Fall. Before a morning tea (yes, morning tea. No, I don't drink tea, Yes, I stopped at Starbucks first) I drove to pick some up while the boys were at hourly. After a disappointing 5 minutes of looking at the dismal selection I settled on the very large purple mums in the front of the display. I honestly wanted the red but I make it a point not to purchase red during football season.
When I went inside to pay for my flowers I noticed the bulbs for tulips and such were out. I loved my tulips last year. They lined the house, filled the planters in our back yard. I loved watching them bloom. Immediately I picked up a large bag. Before it hit the cart I put it back.
I wouldn't see them bloom.
I can't tell you how long I stood in front of the display staring blankly at the packages. It could have been seconds, minutes. Who knows. I just stood there. I loved watching the bulbs spring to life last year. I planted some with my neighbor's daughter who was so excited when she told me "our flowers" were growing. She would still be here in the spring.
I don't remember walking away. I don't remember turning the cart to go towards the register but somehow before I made it there the smaller display of tulip bulbs caught my eye. Purple and gold. Large bags with just purple and yellow tulips in them. I picked them up and firmly placed them in the cart, walking away with them before I could change my mind.
Sometime next week, or the next, I will be planting tulips. I will plant them along the side of our house in the trench that I dug last fall, raking out rocks and putting elbow grease into digging out clay. I will ask my neighbor's daughter if she would like to plant them around the shared tree like she did last time. I hope they bloom as long for the next spring as they did the last. I will trim down the hyacinth plant that should finally have blooms next year and hope that the person who lives in this house next will get the same thrill I did when I first saw the green leaves fighting through the grey rocks. I will sneak over to my neighbors house and plant the bulbs along her front steps, smirking all the while. When spring hits and her BAMA pride has all been packed up for the time, purple and gold tulips will line her front porch and I know that she will know I got the last laugh.
This life is a cycle, a journey, a continuation. We are always coming or going, coming or going. We never have enough time where we are. We learn to hold people tighter, make friends faster, cherish every moment. There is a beauty in the struggle. A goodness in the changes.
Make the most of what is placed before you. Bring joy. Find joy.
Bloom where you are planted then leave part of you with those you have grown to love.