Michelle Martin

Turn, turn, turn

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

We spent some time on one of the last days of October the way we do every year: raking and bagging the leaves that fall from the parkway trees, the fronds of tiny honey locust leaves that form a carpet of gold over the green grass.

Like every year, I said it might be better for the grass to leave them. Like every year (at least) one of the kids said the same thing. And, like every year, my husband said that if we got a big rain when they were all on the grass next to the street, they could clog the storm sewer on the corner and all that water could end up in the basement.

“These are basement-saving bags,” my husband said, gesturing to three full bags we already had.

We kept raking and bagging, and I reflected that there really is nothing new under the sun, as Ecclesiates says.

Each year, as summer ends, Halloween displays go up, and then Thanksgiving and Christmas. The leaves change from green to gold and red and brown as the temperatures fall, until finally they drop from the trees and we rake them up, or don’t.

We keep moving through cycles as short as a day, in which we rise and sleep in much the same patterns, and as long as decades; last week, we got a new roof on the house, something that will have to be repeated in 20 years or so.

Those cycles, though, make it easy to miss the changes as they do happen, whether they are on global or personal scales.

Intense, violent weather is more common now than it was in generations past, something we can’t always see from one unseasonably warm or cold day at a time, and it seems to me that when I was younger, Christmas displays in stores didn’t start until Halloween was over.

This year, for the first time in at least 23 years, we haven’t had a child out trick-or-treating, whether with us or with friends. We even went out to at least a few houses when it was sleeting on Halloween, just to be able to say we did.

Next year, for the first time in 20 years, we will only have one child in school, and the idea that eventually all of them will be out of school is starting to seem like reality, although it likely won’t happen for close to a decade.

We probably have already passed the last time our kids played with Barbie dolls or toy cars, and didn’t realize it when it was happening.

So as the seasons turn from the time for planting to the time for harvesting, let’s also keep our eyes open for the new things, so that we don’t miss the signs of the times.



  • family life