I chose this picture today, even though it is about 2 weeks old, because it makes me feel good. This gazebo resides down by the pond. It is always beautiful in any season. In the spring, there are dogwoods, celandine and daylilies jostling for attention. In the summer, the trumpet vine is ablaze with blossoms, and the hummingbirds flock around it. In autumn, it is covered with berries and pods. In the winter, the vines hold the faintest wisps of snow, and the austere shell portends of spring to come.
At first I picked it because the last few days have been uncharacteristically filled with upheaval. The gazebo is a visual of how our lives typically feel here on the hill. Peaceful and fulfilling, with lots of creativity, growth and support.
Most years, it is surrounded by hostas, sedum, and ferns. This wasn't that kind of year though. This year wasn't easy on the family and things had to be let go a little bit. Just a little. The pokeweed took advantage of the situation, but I'm certain that by the time the sun comes back next spring, things will be back to something like normal.
Autumn has blown in. It has blown into this year, and it has blown into our lives. We're getting older.
When I look at this picture I remember when the gazebo was built. It was pale wood with cedar shingles on the roof. The vines that encircle it now were just small, struggling to reach the first railing.
The gazebo has seen a lot. It's watched as the pond was drained and rebuilt. It has seen the fish being restocked, and the cranes that came in to scoop them up. It has kept frogs and bugs cozy under the floorboards, and has listened while we sat within the shade it provides, laughing and planning. It watched while the kids took the boat out on the pond, and saw every time Molly fell into the water. It stood by while Rob spent hours skipping stones over the water and has watched the turtles float lazily on the surface. It listened while the various frogs set up their chorus in the spring and stood as a quiet refuge, waiting to offer peace and quiet after a jaunt down into the woods.
Over time the wood took on a weathered look, gaining character. It has a few loose rails and the roof has some bald spots. At times it is overgrown, and there is a slight tilt to the floor. Most of the time it sits unassuming as the wildlife scurries past or through it. It is just there, a sweet constant in the landscape.
It makes getting older look like it might be a good thing. I wonder if it ever forgets what it was just about to do?