The September Maples

To embrace the experience of living is to reap bounties of all sorts. Thinking deliberately can be such, if one is up to the task. Sometimes, though, lessons present themselves in sudden realization of what was always there. How one accounts for such events is a matter of faith, but certainly lessons unseen if unsought can be presented anywhere.

So it was in the morning taken by ordering the yard surrounding the Perimeter. A glazed pot has sat outside in the bay for the dumpsters since we arrived. In Texas it held a lilac, cultivated by the Editress from a cutting at her mother’s. Potted plants do less well in the frozen north than in the Lone Star State. Being we arrived here in at the start of winter, the tall, slender plant which bloomed for her only a single time—in the summer prior to our leaving—is gone. It sat the first year in the hopes it could recover, but it will not, and its branches turned to sticks in the way of life passed away.

The trees around are largely maples. Each spring showers the property with the seed pods of the silver maples to our south, some of which spiral down to land on seemingly every inch of our yard. They land in the pot where the lilac flourished, too, and spout as they do to be tended only by the sun and the rain. In the pot, though, they stand unmolested.

So I noticed them this morning, with their leaves as broad as any on the mature trees from which they originated, though the largest shoots are perhaps eighteen inches high. They, like the lilac, will be gone after the first killing frost. But for now they are here, and alive, and as it struck me this morning, beautiful standing in such time as they have.

It is a truism that each living thing holds the beauty of life if nothing else. Elizabeth Goudge, an English author of novels, short stories, and children’s books, observed rightly in her novel Green Dolphin Street “Nothing living should ever be treated with contempt. Whatever it is that lives, a man, a tree, or a bird, should be touched gently, because the time is short. Civilization is another word for respect for life ….”

We live in a world where life must at times be cut short. We take in sustenance to live and fund the slow combustion of living with the fuel of our diet. Plants are harvested and animals as well. It’s proper that the grace preceding each meal acknowledges the fact that, as in the spiritual realm, death is necessary for one to receive the gift of life.

With animals, we observe necessity as involving one of the Four Ds. The creature must be dangerous, diseased, destructive … or delicious. With our fellow man, the doctrine here is that he who sets aside his humanity loses the consideration of civilized folk. In no case, however, is the taking of life held lightly. It is God’s portfolio, and each instance is set to His purpose.

In writing political fiction, adventures of all sorts are presented, of course. Homicides  predatory, tragic, and righteous populate the pages of my work. There too, nothing can be taken lightly. In the case of the antagonist, karma waits patiently. But even for my protagonists there is a price paid for doing their duty, and it does not pass without the toll. I write my characters as they are given me, and it has become clear as their stories go on that the burdens of even justifiable homicides build. I write about people as they are, in what my life and my teachers have taught me, and I’ve come to realize that Ms. Goudge was correct.

So, this morning as I began my work, I carefully trimmed away the remnants of the Lilac that had blessed the Editress for years. She has another now, deeply rooted and mature, in the backyard of this iteration of the Perimeter. I left only enough stalk enough to support the young maples whose days are short, so that they can have their time in the sun. It’s as much as any of us can ask. I hope to see their successors in the spring of next year, if we are so graced, because they will also be alive, and beautiful, and welcome here.

Choose to Love, -DA

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OLSJ_225x337DSIn production news, Boone’s third, One Last Scent of Jasmine, is 24% complete in primary editing, and remains likely for this winter, God willing. Her debut, Absinthe and Chocolate, is currently on sale everywhere pending a feature for the ebook on Pixel of Ink as slated for Monday, September 14. If you’ve not availed yourself of a great read, there is no better time to start.

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