Mid-October and it was hot here this week. The neighbor across the street used the world balmy, and it is. Cold is coming, I'm sure. I hope (only because I know what lack of cold does to the bug and critter population...not ideal come spring). But right now, there are no complaints. It's been nice to spend the last couple of weeks in perfect temperature.
Last year we neglected our tradition of apple and pumpkin picking, and I've heard about it ever since. I get it. It is an important one to hold. So with this good picking weather and family visiting, we traveled the hour and a half north to our favorite orchard. Home cooked food, u-pick apples and pumpkins, sweet things, and cider, a good couple of hours is found there.
Today and tomorrow our kitchen will be busy- applesauce, apple chips, and apple butter are calling, much like I'm sure it was after one of our first trips to this orchard many years ago. There is sweetness in those old pictures, but mostly there is a lot of gratitude. Gratitude that we are where we are now, hard work and hard choices having paid off; similar but very much changed.
I can't help but wonder where another five years will lead us. A 15 and 11-year-old- both older than the oldest now.
It's what next year brings that occupies my mind. It's that time of year again. Job applications are going out, fingers crossed for a chance to put down roots, tenure here or somewhere just as good. Each year, for many now, we have lived in this not knowing. I create classes wondering if someone else will have to hold them, make plans wondering if we will be here to follow through.
The last couple years the kids have caught on to the unknown we face each year. Not wanting to leave their friends or home, they want us to promise we will stay here, in this house, forever. Moving, whether down the street or across the state, will be hard for them. Having never moved and with no locus of control, they have to ride the ride, no matter which way it's going. I know that ride. I ache for them, remembering the boxes that littered our home, how leaving my room, our home felt like a death. But I ache for a home of our own, a taproot to settle around, a little more stability, a little more locus of control for our family, more.
Much like the trees, I'm guessing are ready to shed their leaves this time of year, we are ready for change, to take on more hard choices and hard work. But no matter how ready we've been the last decade, are this year, waiting and patience has become part of the hard work we do. So, we'll make applesauce, plan classes, talk about the future, hope that all is well, and I'll continue to dream about that little house dug deep in the ground, roots spreading. All the while, we'll know the life we continue to make, no matter the outcome of this year or the next, will be ours. It has always been ours in the making.