*And Other Equal Opportunity Conversations with God. Yet you’ll see in the excerpted poem below that the narrator is grateful to the Lord, a specifically masculine term for the Almighty which was standard language then. In the text of many newer prayer books, such gender-specific terms have been replaced with neutral ones: God or Eternal One for Lord, Sovereign for King.
Times have certainly changed. The toddler mentioned in “October” is a woman now with her own daughter, a little girl who will grow up with far more opportunities than were open to her grandmother or even to her mom. I cheer for that change, even as I feel nostalgia for some of what once was.Midlife and, for me, autumn are times for reflection. “October” evokes a young family on a crisp fall day set in a moment long past, but —in the turning of the leaves, the slant of burnished sunlight, the yielding but unending cycle of seasons— also something miraculously eternal.
Thank You for yesterday, Lord.
For the crisp October morning with air so still it left leaves undisturbed on the trees and, consequently, for the elegant angle of rake against carport, my favorite fall composition.Thank You for breakfast eggs that didn’t split their yolks before reaching my husband’s plate, for apple cider that surprised the palate and inspired meditation on the wondrous ways You work through nature, and for the State Energy Commission that refused a nine percent rate hike to the gas and electric company. We may just be able to heat this barn of a kitchen through winter without sacrificing our daughter’s college education.
Thank You for that child’s two-hour nap as the shadows lengthened, for my own hour of sleep and the splendid way I was awaked. For my husband’s surge of autumn energy which moved him to clean closets, repair faucets, and brew vegetable soup among other excellent activities.Thank You for the cat’s nuzzling as the wind stirred toward evening and for her gift which, though I would not have chosen it for myself preferring roses laid at my feet to supine small animals of indeterminate origin, was, nonetheless, well meant and offered lovingly.
Thank You for yesterday, Lord.For all the glorious moments, and for the final toddler tantrum before bedtime because letting go of beauty is harder than leaving disappointment behind. Thank You for the flaw in this otherwise perfect day which reminds me that perfection is illusion and happiness condition, swift as season’s shifting but as sure in its repeating.