The weather finally broke, I would say, for the better. After the better part of a week of late summer that felt more like mid-summer the wind switched around from the northwest and chased all that heat and humidity eastward.
I have been feeling more and more confined the past ten days. Surely part of it was that I felt no urgent need to get out into 90 plus degree heat; not when the air conditioner kept the inside of the house so comfortable. But the bigger challenge was that I had my left knee replaced and that has a way of humbling one’s mobility.
But, this morning I decided to take a little walk, test the new knee some and breathe fresh air. I stepped onto the front porch and breathed deeply.
I love autumn, so it was easy to notice the foliage of the red-twig dogwood along the old fence line was already deep burgundy, and the first bunch of purple asters were already blooming at the edge of the field. To the surprise of my wife, I harkened the caution of my physical therapist, so I had used the help of a cane and I kept the walk quite short – around a third of a mile. Surely there was more of a new autumn to be discovered, but what caught my eye was two out-of-season sightings.
The first wasn’t too surprising. Five bluebirds, likely a family group, perched on the power lines about fifty yards ahead. They waited until I was just about even with them and then they peeled off one by one to move about another one hundred yards ahead. I knew from past experience that I could chase them all the way to the end of the road like this. Although I would guess that most people would envision sunnier and warmer weather as a backdrop to bluebirds, I usually don’t see them on my walks until these early days of September.The second sighting as I returned to my driveway was about a dozen or so dandelions blossoming along the north lawn. In the spring this area is literally a sea of yellow, but now there is just a sprinkling of yellow dots as if God scattered them there quite casually. Perhaps they offer a reminder of hope. When a new season comes we tend to think that we leave time behind. Instead, everything of the past is soil for tomorrow, so that all is always present.
I stopped to pick today’s ripened tomatoes from the garden before going back in the house.
Finally with my hand on the door handle, I thought about the sacrament of the anointing of the sick that Father Philip gave me the day before my surgery. He invited others at Mass that morning to stay and pray with us. I appreciated how many of them did. I remember the peace that enveloped me. It was like stepping into fresh air.
I breathed deeply of this new autumn and stepped into the house. The knee held up just fine; I will walk a bit further tomorrow.