Each morning I take a walk through my backyard and notice black walnuts lying in the grass and on the cement sidewalk to nowhere. Seeing the walnuts and the tree they fall from reminds me of the old place where I lived. Dan would spend each fall gathering the hundreds of walnuts and filling his wheelbarrow. At the time,
I never thought much of it, but now it’s a sweet memory of him. I remember how he would bundle up in layers of shirts and then cover them with a zipped-up sweat jacket or a lined flannel shirt accessorized with brown canvas work gloves and a cap. I smile at how vivid the memory is, down to how he dressed. Who would have thought at the time how priceless the memory would be? Since his passing, I’ve learned over and over again how the simplest everyday action he did gives me the most joy and peace.
I’ve gone through one year, eight months, and three days without him, and I can still see him, with every season change, the little things he did. I can remember what he wore and how he approached each chore. At the time, I embraced his appearance and actions and never realized it until after he was gone. I am so thankful and appreciative of those memories, which console me on my saddest days.
The sayings, “never take moments for granted” and “take in the simplest moments,” have become cliches, but there is truth to those sayings. Unfortunately, we often don’t realize it until the person or the moment is gone.
As I write this, one of the stanzas from William Wordsworth‘s poem, “Intimations of Immortality,” comes to mind. The first time I heard the stanza, I was in my early teens and watching the movie “Splendor in the Grass.” Natalie Wood’s character, Deanie, recited it –
What though the radiance
which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass,
of glory in the flower,
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
William Wordsworth –
“Intimations of Immortality” 1807