The first time I saw these words I felt something stir deep inside me. My heart expanding, my soul awakening, my spirit singing. These words…and the hills here where I make my home are what inspire and lift me up.
I went and visited the cemetery where this inscribed granite stone resides, again on Sunday. The peace I felt was immediate.
This peace is something I feel often while gazing out upon the green and rolling hills of Vermont.
A peace that grows with every breathtaking view I’m blessed to experience.
I’m finding that there is more and more peace inside me with each passing day. A calm serenity that often felt elusive in the past. Perhaps it’s because I am surrounded by hills.
And these hills that I lift mine eyes upon, are truly a glorious gift.
It wasn’t the nicest of days. The sun wasn’t shining. The temperature wasn’t warm. And the leaves, once so vibrant, were fading.
But I’ve learned, that in every season and in every place, there is beauty and joy if you take the time to look around you.
Another state park. Another favorite of mine. In all kinds of weather and on all kinds of days.
There’s something about the stillness and muted reflections of the reservoir in late fall.
There’s something about the soft and quiet foliage that remains, both on the trees and on the ground.
There’s something about the peacefulness of still waters and cooler air.
There’s something about the serenity of shimmering raindrops when the sun tries to peek through the dense clouds.
And there is something about the wonder of hearing the sound of sleet echoing through the forest.
After all it wasn’t the nicest of days…
But there was beauty and joy to be found at Little River.
It happens slowly. This changing of the seasons.
The shift from summer to autumn. A serenade between the two that lingers. A dramatic pause in the harmonious cycle.
There are moments when it seems as if fall’s melody will last forever.
The colorful abundance never ending. A crescendo of vibrant hues and shades.
And then ever so subtly the finale arrives. The colors once so rich and brilliant begin to pale and merge into a soft golden tempo.
I try to capture these moments…as fall winds down her glorious performance. Lingering in that pause and savoring this final symphony of beauty.
Nature knows. This foliage finale just before the next pause and the approach of winter.
She reminds us that nothing lasts forever. To everything there is a season and a rhythm. A beginning and an ending.
And it is in theses pauses, these spaces between the notes, where the music happens.
In AA we often talk about how hard it is to sometimes let go. Whether it’s a person we loved. A thing we’ve lost. A place we miss. Or lingering feelings…
Like the clouds after a thunderstorm has passed…
Like the final remnants of foliage on the trees in late fall…
Like the last bits of ice on a frozen lake…
Like the buds pushing up through the warming spring soil…
This trying is at the heart of our recovery. The heart of our healing. And the heart of our growth.
But it isn’t easy.
So we learn to go through, not around or over or under. But sometimes we turn around and look back. It is the looking back that trips us up. We want to hold on.
Sometimes we see the past not as it was, but so much prettier and nicer. And we begin to romance our past. We forget so easily what it was really like and we take excursions back there. Entering those bad neighborhoods in our minds that were so harmful and hurtful.
This is the disease of alcoholism. Putting down the drink is just the first step. Recovery is a life long process. A journey of steps and progress, one day at a time.
I’ve been visiting bad neighborhoods lately in my mind. But I know the way out today. And while the letting go is harder than the holding on…
Letting go is about having faith that we will find better neighborhoods.
Letting go is having the courage to accept change, and the strength to keep moving until the past no longer pulls us back.
Letting go is walking in the present with gratitude and grace.
It’s no secret, my love for the abandoned quarries. I am smitten. I am captivated. I’m in love. And every time I go there I find more to love.
But I had never been there in the fall. And so this weekend I went. And I fell further in love with these remnants from long ago. And I discovered more than I could have ever imagined.
Fall at the quarries is glorious.
Like anything there is so much more than just what’s on the surface. These scarred towering rocks and deep holes filled with shimmering water, tell a story. They tell of mans’ strength, determination, and spirit.
The piles of grout create mountains and things grow up on these mountains. From the wreckage and waste…new life begins. Standing on these enormous hills is breathtaking. The world lays open from every angle to savor and enjoy.
These rocks weather extremely well which is why they are chosen to grace so many building facades and memorials. They can survive all types of storms, and remain unchanged. Granite is not only strong and enduring but multifaceted.
I often think of these magnificent quarries as a metaphor.
A metaphor for my life.
Like the granite, I have survived and endured many a storm. And like the quarries, deep below the surface within my heart, is a fierce determination and resilient spirit.
And so, I am drawn to these quarries…
They remind me.
And they inspire me.
I say it every year.
I take a million pictures.
I feel amazement and delight.
And I find myself in absolute awe.
Autumn in Vermont is truly magnificent.
The lovely leaves have captured my heart again this year.
Those still in the trees…
And those that have landed softly on the ground at my feet.
Nature’s palette never ceases to surprise and amaze me.
They are all lovely, from the yellow to the red, to every color in between.
Such lovely, lovely leaves.