Tag Archives: melancholy

Blog-Birthday: Reposts from Melancholy Autumn Writings

repost autumn

I get melancholy in the fall.  I fall in love with the smells and sights and sounds and the changing leaves.  It is ridiculous.  But true.  Below are parts of a few different things I mentioned about fall and the autumn leaves along the way…

The Autumn Leaves are Falling Down, posted October 2011

Glory. That is the color of fall. What started green and bright and light, unfurling after a stark winter, now reaches its’ full and most beautiful stage, and having held on with strength and determination throughout the summer, through both drought and drenching rains, now falls, now tumbles. Now, peacefully and content with itself, dances right down before me, a gift. Glory. {{READ ENTIRE POST HERE}}

kids in leaves 3

“I Feel Like a Warm, Red Autumn,” ~ Marilyn Monroe, I posted her words and my thoughts in September of this year. 

I feel things more deeply at this ripe and fruitful time of my life. I feel like a full-grown woman, as opposed to some foolish girl, a woman who knows her mind and risks her thunderous-beating heart to more vulnerability and tenderness than I’d have allowed when younger. And my experience in life and love and heartbreak and second chances have made me more deeply passionate and compassionate and warm. I’m old enough now to understand the rich treasure my nurturing provides for those who are lucky enough to be planted in my heart and the wildly increased ability I now have to love. {{SEE FULL POST HERE}}


Delicious Autumn (I quoted George Eliot and missed a Colorado snowstorm while visiting my parents in Missouri), post 10-09

I have chased autumn into a Missouri mood that lingers like musk on my skin. I have escaped to turning-leaves on proud trees and the deep intensity of autumn colors that hold both the memory of exuberant youth with its’ fresh, green-spring growth, and the exploding red-to-the-core ripeness of the late summer tomato, now seasoned to a complex beauty, indisputably richer and wiser for the aging. The blazing urgency of the season, so much to experience before it all passes into winter, is salty on my tongue. I inhale the cinnamon-scented air, and taste the pungent, spicy and intangible gift of the equinox while the crickets sing that haunting song I have always loved.

Burnt sienna and ochre rustle restlessly as autumn falls and the cool night air sprinkles wet diamonds onto my keyboard and into my mouth filling my lungs with cool, brisk air and enduring toasted warmth at once. Halley’s Comet spilled burning meteor fragments in the wee hours, punctuating the night sky with light, a spectacle for late-night lovers young and old.  {{SEE FULL POST HERE}}

Hey, remember the meteor showers that year? CLICK HERE

kids in leaves 1

In 2007 I posted about Autumn in Peaceful Valley

I got to spend the weekend at the Powers family cabin near Peaceful Valley in the Rocky Mountains (thank-you! thank-you! thank-you!). For over 11 hours on Saturday, I sat near the rushing river tumbling down boulders and powering it’s way through fallen branches and sharp rocks in dappled sunlight that warmed my skin while the gentlest of breezes brought cool refreshment. I read and sang and thought and rested and listened and wondered and cried and smiled and prayed. In that setting, you cannot help but be drawn into spontaneous conversations with God. The evergreens, greatly varied in their hues, all strong and tall were punctuated by Aspens I am certain I could actually see changing color before my eyes – a bit more colorful hour by hour.

The underbrush, having gotten an earlier start is already deep oranges and reds, even browns and purples. Brilliant berries are being found out by small birds which, having swiped a treasure as such from the bush quickly flies to a needle-rich pine branch nearby and looks for all the world as if I have just opened a Christmas card…”Oh! May the God of green-hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing-lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!” (That’s in The Message, Romans 15)  {{SEE ENTIRE POST HERE}}

kids in leaves 2

Then just some miscellaneous quotes about the fall season from various blog posts:

“I like October for the crimson and pumpkin, for the eggplant and rust, and all the colors of the deepening, mature, lusty, whole and passionate part of the year when the autumn moon hangs heavy in the sky like the warm embraces of a tattered, weighty quilt sewn years ago for the need of heat and not some contest of a county fair.  Have you ever been covered in one of those?”   {{10.22.13}}


“Today is mostly yellow with a smattering of red, turning into deep wine by late afternoon. A steady falling of leaves with a call for possible white-flakes on Thursday afternoon and a blast of cold-blue air which will effectively ruin the perfectly coiffed-in-color hues for Autumn 2012.”  {{10.23.12}}


October is orange. Of course. But it is also a red that is so full of depth and dimension and fiery-variance it can hardly be described.

My neighbor’s Maple has languoriously (not a real word, I know), gone from deep late-summer green, the leaves still fully affixed due to mild fall days and nights, to a light-to-deepening golden peach-to-orange over the past week. Then yesterday, I swear, as I walked back into the family room with a hot cup of coffee, it went red. Just like that, before my eyes. It nearly took my breath away. Moments before, a glowing, lovely amber-rusty orange, then, poof.

Red. A fully florid, cherry, sanguine scarlet. A puce, a rufescent russet, a bloody, blushing, gushing, infrared hot pink mixed with flaming chestnut and rubies and gleaming copper, all at once. It is shimmering and iridescent fuchsia, yet dense and heavy garnet, a ruby. It is bittersweet in both color and the evoking of raw autumn melancholy.  [So, it’s red, right?] {{10.17.11}}


My mom and I were drinking coffee on the deck this morning and enjoying the rustling leaves in their fall coat-of-many-colors. Autumn is romantic. This is from my mama’s heart and mind:

The butterflies are taking one last dance across the meadow.  Please hurry back, I’ll see you in the spring…”  -Norma Moslander {{10.21.09}}


I quite obviously become a waterfall of words come autumn.  This year has been splendid!  Good job, Autumn!


At Last

Let Me Hold You Longer, Karen Kingsbury

Stephanie Morgan brought me a book by that title yesterday at Starbucks. The premise of the book, the author explained, is that in life, we record and particularly note and celebrate all sorts of firsts.  There is a baby’s first tooth, first steps, first day of school – all beautiful milestones that deserve our attention!  Yet, we are unaware of the things that pass, last things.  She explained it by recalling a beautiful day outdoors with her kids when one of the little guys ran up, jumped into her arms, wrapped his legs around her waist and while touching noses told her, “I love you, mommy.”  She noticed how big he was getting and how heavy he was, realizing he probably wouldn’t be doing that too much longer.  Then she looked across the lawn and saw her oldest son who was about to enter middle school and realized that he used to run and jump into her arms the same way and that at some point it had been the last time.

And the thing about last times is, you usually just don’t know they are happening, and if you did, you might want to take closer note.

Of course, I read the book and it killed me.

O my goodness. I tried to tell Stormie about it when she came by earlier today.  Cry.  *Sniff, sniff. And to be silly and try not to be all melancholy, I grabbed Gavin, who was here helping us take down our Christmas decorations and cuddled him on to my lap like I have been doing since June 2003 and kissed his cheek and he is getting so big.  At 8 1/2 he doesn’t quite melt into his Nonna’s lap anymore (he just told me he has an adult-sized head).  He still likes the attention, but is slightly embarrassed.  And I jokingly said, “Everybody remember this in case it is the last time.”

There was practically a boooo and an eye-rolling moan from everyone, but also a palpable realization that this – this moment, this totally open relationship between a little boy and his Nonna, is a relationship that will grow and change and be re-defined as he becomes who God created him to be and has to pull away to become independent before he can, with full confidence in who he is, move back in closer with appreciation for these two old people who have loved him since the day he was born.  And there is realization that time is flying and kissy-cheeks from Nonna, at least in their present, freely-flowing form, are making their way into a land of remember-when-memories.  And growth is good and the destination is the point, but it changes everything you love in the moments that make life worth living to begin with.  Nothing stays the same.

The first time

I don’t recall, though I love baby’s feet, when the last time I kissed the bottoms of my children’s feet was?  I know I kept kissing them, even when they were “too old” for it because it made them laugh and I wanted them to know I adored them all the way from the bottoms of their little feet.  They weren’t babies in age, but they were my babies.  I can’t remember the last time I braided my little girls’ hair (I remember combing long, silky locks – or terrible tangles…lots of them) or what year I quit weaving red ribbons into their braids at Christmas?  In my ornament box, I found a note my mom tucked into the branches of our Christmas tree in 2001…was that my last Christmas with my mom?   I don’t know when the last time we sang “Testify” together at some church or played Risk as a family or any other number of mundane things that make up life.  When was the last time Tara baked Jiffy pizza-bread sticks, anyway?

Lasting impressions

I do know the book struck a chord, something deeply reverberating through my heart.   I am past the halfway mark now, but my senses and ability to feel love have increased exponentially with age, with experience.  When the years rolled out ahead like there was no end in sight, I didn’t have to be as cautious in gathering memory, in recording the story, in remembering.  But now that the lasts are happening, I don’t want to miss anything, not one thing.

2011 ~ 2012

One year rolls into another.  And the year we have just lived, all the beauty and joy and ups and downs and round-abouts and surprises and laughs, the tears, the disappointments, the things that did not go our way – all of it, with the slightest move of a second hand on a clock becomes {*tick} last year, {*tock} a new year.

The days ahead

We get this brand-spanking-new-year in just a few hours.   It will be filled with so much yet-undiscovered adventure.  I am hoping for 3 new grandbebes in 2012 – or at least some good work toward that!  *smile.  And I am excited to see what God is going to do through Heaven Fest this year and the songs I have yet to sing and the seasons changing and the garden tomatoes filling my counters and time with the love and watching the incredible lives of my children whom I cherish and the children they share…but like the author of the book, my prayer is, even as each day brings new things in a new year, “Let me hold on longer, God, to every precious last.”

This was totally unrelated

Gavin took a quick break from Christmas packing-away for a snack.  I turned on the TV and an old Rockford Files episode was on.  I said to the grand-boy, “See James Garner?  Now that is some swagger.”

“What show is this, anyway?” he asked me.

“‘The Rockford Files’ from the 1970’s!” I told him.

He grimmaced and asked “Why do people want shows from the 70s anyway?  Do they wish they had a time machine so they could go back there or something?”

Haha.  Laugh. Laugh.  Maybe…

But then it became related

Just now, as I was about ready to push the “publish” button on this post, Gavin was leaving to go home to have a special New Year’s Eve night with his family, games and snacks and good times.  He came to say good-bye and I hugged him tight and said, “One last kiss in 2011.”  He kissed my cheek.  I feigned sorrow, “But now my other cheek needs one last kiss in 2011 – for you and I will never hug and kiss in 2011 ever again.”  He giggled and kissed my other cheek before bolting toward the door

as he quipped, “Nuh-uh, Nonna – I will build a time machine to come back to 2011.”

{Heart m e l t i n g }  And I would get into that machine, Gav, to collect all the lasts I have maybe missed.

Hello, 2012

Dear 2011 – you gave me all the days you promised you would and I will carry them in my heart forever.

Ok, Stephanie Morgan-you did this to me.  Love you for the sharing.  But you’re killing me! xxoo


October Skies

l (a leaf falls) one li ness  e.e. cummings


My “leaf-is-falling-but-not-really” photoshoot in the backyard. ;p



It had actually already fallen.  I was just replicating it a little {camera in my right hand, leaf stem in my left}.

I quit watering the veggies when I went to Montana over a month ago.  I have been gathering regularly ever since, as the vegetable garden seeks to proliferate madly before the end.  Then the rainy nights came and they thought they had been asked to stay a while longer.  It pains me to tell them no, but I must.  Until the spring, my sweet veggies – just until the spring…

“Well, it’s a marvelous night for a Moondance

With the stars up above in your eyes

A fantabulous night to make romance

 ‘Neath the cover of October skies

And all the leaves on the trees are falling

To the sound of the breezes that blow

And I’m trying to please to the calling

Of your heart-strings that play soft and low

And all the night’s magic seems to whisper and hush

And all the soft moonlight seems to shine in your blush.”

 – Van Morrison, Moondance

FULL MOON on the 23rd!

Thursday’s Child

Monday’s child is fair of face;
Tuesday’s child is full of grace;
Wednesday’s child is full of woe;
Thursday’s child has far to go…


Five Ooooooohhh….

On the occasion of my my 50th birthday (today), I headed out before sunrise into a gray, foggy, drizzling rain for a brisk walk.  At 34-degrees, I am not certain which was more brisk: my walking or the air?  I started for my current favorite path, leaving my own neighborhood to weave in and out of curved streets past a high school and large soaked fields of heavily-seeding prairie grass. 

Within minutes I had quit noticing how icy cold it felt and how loud passing cars’ tires sounded unfurling wet dirt as they motored by.  I’d quit noticing the cloud of my own breath and became mildly amused at little boys madly peddling their bikes, heads down so their thick glasses wouldn’t get wet, nearly running into me, in an effort, I can only assume, to get extra credit.  Why else would they need to arrive an hour and a half early?

I found my pace.  I got warm.  I decided to mourn my youth.


I was born on a Thursday in 1959.  I am 50 now. {I have to pause at that to let it sink in} 50.   I am either at the beginning of the end or in the middle, depending on how committed I feel to living to 100.  I like the idea of it.  I like thinking that in my late 60s and 70s I could hold my grandbebe’s children.  I like imagining that in my 90s I could hold Gavin’s grandbebes (my very own great-greats) and say, “See?  Now do you understand what you did to me?  Do you see how you changed my world forever and why I have chosen to stay so long?”  As if that is really a choice I get to make.

I was born on a Thursday 50 years ago.  And I never liked that little rhyme, “Thursday’s child has far to go…”  What the heck is that?  Why couldn’t I have a fair face or be full of grace?  Why couldn’t I be loving and giving like Friday’s children?  From the time I learned to read, “having far to go” has felt like some thick,  prophetic canopy of responsibility over me, an assignment I can never quite finish, a goal line that keeps moving. 

Regrets, I’ve had (quite) a few, (actually)…

Are you like me?  Do you sometimes wonder, “What if…”  What if I had done something different here or at that point in my life?  Would it have changed everything?  Would it have changed anything?  I mean George Bailey (It’s a Wonderful Life) hated his life, temporarily at least, and got to see that if he hadn’t ever been born, so many other people’s lives would have had painful consequences.  But it wasn’t even about the possibility of his never-having-existed-at-all that made the real difference for his family and the entire town.  It was about how he interacted with them and how he lived his life that made the difference.  He wanted to shake the dust of his “crummy little town” off his feet and see the world, but he didn’t.  He stayed and he worked and he made people’s lives better and that is why, when he faced grave peril, they rallied around him and he could see the true value of his life.

So, as I  mourn my lost youth early on a rainy day, I realize I do have regrets, but not the big-decision kind. 

The choices and decisions I have made, however ill-conceived or foolishly-seen at the time that have brought me to the blessed life I lead, I can’t regret those.  I sit in the middle of a life portrait of a huge, growing family of loud and loving people, with spiritual children and family, in peace with man, under the favor-covering of a gracious God.  I am loved and challenged.   Adventure is always just ahead, almost inconceivable in light of the devastation and despair of just a few short years ago.  God has blessed my broken road and my errors in judgment and the times I just plain screwed everything up.  I can’t regret the big disasters or mistakes that brought me here, to this room in which I sit and mourn my passing youth.

But I do regret having lived most of my life in the fear of man.  I have handed over too much power to people’s opinions and like Proverbs so graphically states, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare,” (Proverbs 29.25 NIV), or as Mary Jean has explained it: the equivalent of a tightening noose around your neck.  “…but whoever trusts in the Lord will be kept safe,” the passage finishes.  The Message says it well, too, “The fear of human opinion disables…”  So true.

And now?  I hate that I thought trying to please everybody and their dog should have consumed so much of my life.  I regret that I put so much effort into being whatever 450 people or 57 people, or even just one thought a pastor’s wife should be,  that I didn’t help the opinionated grow by being who God called me to be, even created me to be.  I am sad that I put the power to rule me into the hands of illegitimate authority-figures and that I lived a dumbed-down version of myself, thoroughly distrusting the person God knit together in the secret places when He gave me a brain and a strong will with the ability to impact life like no one else.  And I was so afraid to be that woman that the very people who created boxes for me, the ones I lived to please,  were truly the ones who missed out.  I wish I could have seen this along the way, and understood. 

You can never go wrong, when some one calls you on something or even wrongly accuses you-taking that to the altar before God and asking Him to expose in you what they say they have seen.  But then, you let Him deal with whatever it is in you and you leave that place and you let broken, hurting and hurtful people off the hook.  Too many times I received and carried what God never intended for me to carry and I held offense close like a martyr, daring God to fault me because: I am doing what everyone wants.  I behaving as required here. Obedience through gritted teeth.

Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life. Well, not small, but valuable. And sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around? I don’t really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void.”  ~Kathleen Kelly, as played by Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail, one of my all-time favorite movies

Regrets?  I wish I’d dressed like I wanted and laughed more.  I wish I would have enjoyed the beauty of my youth and not hidden nor distrusted my sensuality and taken more days off (or any days off, actually).  I wish I had played with the kids more and done less church-y events.   There are some haircuts I wish I hadn’t gotten, but some jewelry I wish I had (“costly array” be darned).  I wish they had charged me with being a resourceful, vibrant, smart, creative, business-tycoon Proverbs 31 woman when Dave got ordained instead of being told I was to be “grave, serious and plain.”  I regret the times I didn’t like the season of life I was in and kept reaching toward the future instead of understanding the gift of the present (the present is a gift!).  I wish I’d realized sooner how much I love to write and that just because I did love it didn’t mean it was a waste of my time.  I should have laughed more and oh, how I wish I could dance.  It was a sin, I was told, but I believe in dancing.  If you can dance, I hope you dance!

Nore Ephron gives some good advice.  Really good.

neck-copy neck

I wholeheartedly concur.  Seriously.

The phone rings off the hook with good wishes.

I realized during my morning (mourning) walk that I ended up going further than I had planned, longer than I had intended.  I had taken streets I’d never been on and faced hills I wouldn’t have chosen.  The way home was directly into the 7-10mph northeasterly winds.   And if my walk this morning was some sort of metaphor for my life, if in this state of melancholy I assigned it the task of defining something transcendent, I realized that in my brave twenties and strong thirties I may not even have ventured out on a day like this.  The twenty-something Jeanie would have counted on a million good mornings ahead, shrugging  it off thoughtlessly for easier times.  The thirty-something me would have found other ways to be productive and fruitful, making every second count without braving these particular elements.

I’m 50 now.  There is actually sort of a regal magnificence in it.  Yes, I will miss and do the inevitable mourning over my youth and the innocence and physical attributes that went with it, but I won’t miss the neuroses that came along with it, too.  As wisdom and compassion grow in my heart and the less I care what people think of me, I care more about people, I think more about them

When I study my reflection closely, I see the asphyxiating, tangled brown vines of past decades, thick and tall for the life they once represented.  But within them is a flourishing tree, glistening and leafy-green, fairly humming with life in association with innumerable hearts and passions and people and interests.  This is no nursery-new seedling.  There are no small stakes and lines holding it in place.  The seasons of the soul and life itself have driven thirsty roots deep into compacted soil until  the equations and mystery of chlorophyll and ganglia are in full-effect.  The infinite, expanding explosion of a God-given life reaches every direction, stretching as far as possible, growing stronger, thicker, higher, deeper as each day passes.  Time to prune the vines and let them fall as a testament to what has given this tree the strength it now possesses.

Every breath I inhale {Happy} is a remembrance of a blessed and good life.  Every exhale {Birthday} is a preparation, a rehearsal for the end, which is one day closer today than yesterday.  Which is what makes this kind of melancholia so ridiculous, isn’t it?  It is just a day.

I never know which way I’m bound, I’m Thursday’s child
I’ll always be blamed for what I was named
But still I’m not ashamed, I am Thursday’s child ~ Eartha Kitt’s “Thursday’s Child”

Wow.  This may be the longest blog I have ever written.  If you stuck through it with me, you are a most indulgent and loving person and I am lucky to know you.  And if I don’t, we should meet so I can thank-you and tell you in more concise terms that being 50?  So far, so good.  I’ll live to one day mourn the passing of this decade. {smile}

Blessings….Jeanie who is 50

NOTE TO SELF:  Geesh.  Have mercy on readers.

P.S. Can you believe there is a P.S.???  This is my 700th blog post!


I doubt it could be any more beautiful a day if I’d put in my very own order.  A warm, bright sun with the gentlest of breezes sweeping periodically through adorns my world.  The grass is brilliantly green, something you have to work for during the summer months, but comes easily these early fall days.  The tomato plants are loaded (I have a pan in the oven roasting as we speak – remember last year??)  and the annuals are enjoying a resurgance of color before their final farewell over the next few weeks. 

The sedum (from one near-dead clearance plant about 4 years ago) have gone from their hot-weather chartreuse to the light pink of a couple of weeks ago to a blazing cranberry, dotting the yard here and there in at least 12 places, growing ever larger and more glorious, the current social centers of the honey bees’ universe.

In between.

The disarray of the pool midway down, being dried and packed up for the year is rather unsightly and the shadows and sunlight dance differently now across the fences and gardens.  As the year has gone on, I have learned to let some weeds co-exist with desired produce and have let the grass enroach where I had earlier ordered it not to.

The shorter days are bringing into focus the beauty of each one, the fleeting nature of the minutes and hours that create the lives we are leading.

At 1:10 am yesterday morning, having just dozed off not long before, I was awakened abruptly and fully by an acute sense of my mortality.  At exactly 1:10 am, I realized I am closer to my death than to my birth.  I am past the middle, maybe way past.  Who knows?

I hope my colors are becoming more brilliant and more defined, less rigid and controlled.  I hope the shortened days bring more focus and appreciation for the beauty of each one.

Today she waxes melancholoy – as always, when autumn arrives…Jeanie

It has happened before… (melancholoy re: fall, I mean)…

pictured: google image, but not far from where I live