The Unexpected Present

Watching Colors Turn Autumn

Autumn Colors

Six months ago the seasonal changes from winter into spring went mostly unnoticed by us when Yuri was taken to the ER and our world became the unexpected present. It seems so long ago and far, far away, another galaxy, an alternative universe, a gargantuan upheaval when everything you have ever known is just not that way anymore.

But when the unforeseen, unanticipated, unpredicted, without warning, without notice, out of the blue and not bargained for takes over our lives, however long it may be, what is our reaction, what choices do we have to this force of nature when more often than not it is inferred that it’s not going to happen to us, but if it does, it’s supposed to be that way?

It’s a perfect day. This area at the foot of the Kittatinny Mountains along the Delaware River is known for its humid continental climate – four distinct seasons, temperature differences for each season, hot and humid summers, and sometimes severely cold winters –in the most northwestern corner of this state. Sometimes it takes a seismic shift to go along with how we behave and deal with inevitable changes once it settles back into an everyday occurrence with the all-inclusive bumps in the road, the rhythm with an occasional arrhythmic moment.

Memorable autumn days are just that, memorable and as one of the ten best. I can count them (checking my calendar books) and this one makes it one of the most beautiful Indian summer days I can call to mind. It was one of my tricks when we were in the ICU. Just days when we loved the moment. Rambling on a road trip of the curvy back roads past horse farms and tree canopies reaching out to connect with the other branch of their family.

Getting off the main roadways and finding the peace and tranquility nature offers us. I recognize and celebrate Indian Summer, after all, I am a bonafide treehugger. Two days ago it was Indigenous Peoples Day/Columbus Day, or for many just another long weekend. Today, October 14th is the Day of the Holy Protectress. Someone is looking out for Yuri.

A new book came out celebrating ER Nurses. We’re all for that. During the dicier moments, I had an ICU nurse allow me a longer stay at the start of Yuri’s journey into Intubationland. I had a hard time getting into the rhythm of life’s shock therapy and fortunately, it’s the nurses that got me through a lot of the overwhelming incidences as one crisis folded into the next like ingredients in a chiffon layer cake.

One wrong ingredient or not following the recipe could mean a dessert ruined. They let me in on some of the notes, gave me a generous nod for his hanging on, and got through another day without a temperature, infection, or a turn for the worse. When I was told not to have any great expectations, after all, he’s a very sick man, needing medications, a new central line opening in his neck, etc. they gathered in the hall and gave me a virtual group hug. one of the nurses made a call to me that evening, telling me Yuri is doing all right.

Yuri is doing all right. We don’t know what actually triggered and caused this illness. We don’t know how he is with healing inside the Fantastic Voyage terrain. Every day is different. Sometimes we get all crazy about it while other days feel like he’s back to normal. Whatever normal is as we pass through this wondering what future effects will become health issues.

For now, he’s still going to outpatient PT taking on more for his balance and strength (endurance to come), slow measured steps moving forward while addressing the obstacles that lay across our paths. He is working on a music anthology of his life’s work, a compendium of his artistic, poetic, and all of the detailed words to music. I can’t wait to hear this. He already has thirty songs.

As I watch the colors turn autumn, the soft palette is meditative and sublime yet the spontaneous bursts blend in with the end-of-summer greens, and in about a week a shock of yellows, oranges, and reds that sets off sweeping views with its vibrancy. I am oohing and ahhing like the Fourth of July fireworks, so amazed at the canvas of the unmovable guardians rooted in place yet constantly in flux. The sound of flapping wings of the expanded Swan family sounds like applause. It’s one of the reasons it’s worth being on this planet. Reminds me of a poem I learned in the fourth grade.

October gave a party
The leaves by hundreds came
The chestnut, oak, and maple,
And leaves of every name,
Miss Sunshine spread the carpet
And everything was grand,
Mister… led the chorus
Professor Wind, the band.

Shoot. O, boy. I forgot the line.

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