No joke. They are gone!
Yesterday, just yesterday, I shared about the delicate mushrooms that seemed to have colonized the area of my garden near the water pump. They came from out of nowhere, as from outer space. Their lacey cups sat atop slender stalks no more than four inches high – dozens and dozens of these had appeared suddenly two days ago as if that particular square footage of mulch contained their favorite food or just the right conditions for growth. (Never mind the rest of the mulch in the garden complaining Hey! Something wrong with this hood?!)
Today after dinner, Kaileena reported that they were GONE! Not pekid, not fallen, GONE!
Gone, like a moment in time. Gone, like the countless moments we do not take a picture of. Gone. There is no way back to those moments. Most of the time, only our memory holds the record of them, and even that record can be sketchy as time goes by. Will I remember the many moments of today? My mom and Kaileena playing Dog-opoly and laughing because of whose turn it was to go not to jail but to the kennel! Kaileena finding the first egg (the first egg!), soft-shelled and slightly broken, and the excitement in her voice, “You have to come see!!” Mom doing her first mobile deposit. The blue-tailed skink trying to hide under the hand shovel in the onion bed and quickly ditching that plan and heading for a hole.
Gandalf comes to mind, Gandalf standing on the bridge shouting to the Balrog: “You shall not pass!” The image is strong and the analogy imperfect, but the finality is inescapable.
You shall not pass this way again.
The child is only two once, only six once, only ten once. When you pack up certain toys in a box or give away the size clothes that don’t fit any more, you know that chapter is over. Graduation can hit hard. Cross-country relocations even harder.
The lilies are finished, the beets are harvested, the lettuce is gone to seed. I bought a package of romaine today.
But there is a brighter way to see it, which we all know through experience if not verbatim: To everything there is a season. It’s been a long time since I read the first eight verses of the third chapter of Ecclesiastes.
There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every event under heaven –
A time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted; a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build up; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance; a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace and a time to shun embracing; a time to search and a time to give up as lost; a time to keep and a time to throw away; a time to tear apart and a time to sew together; a time to be silent and a time to speak; a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.
We could add
A time to play our hand and a time to fold; a time to joyfully greet and a time to tearfully say good-bye; a time to praise and a time to scold; a time to travel and a time to stay put; a time to feast and a time to diet; a time to spend freely and a time to pull the purse-strings tighter; a time to bring chicks home and a time to get rid of roosters; a time to use sheets to make a bed and a time to use sheets to make a barrier between the earth and the mulch; a time to take photos and a time to just enjoy the moment because
You shall not pass this way again.
The beautiful side of this reality is that there are so many wonderful moments. Yes, we have to leave yesterday behind, but in the new day, if we keep our eyes open, new flowers will bloom and be glorious, new friends will come into our picture and brighten our world, new chances will arise for forgiveness and reconciliation, new gifts will be given and received, wrapped or unwrapped. There will be new restaurants to try, new books to read, new recipes to make, new babies to hold, new pets to nuzzle, new places to explore, new songs to sing, new words of kindness to be sure and say, new ways to remind those we love how much we love them.
I’m not sure I’d be on this track right now if it weren’t for those otherworldly mushrooms that appeared mysteriously. I’m not sure I’d have seen the mushrooms if the sunflowers had not first caught my eye…