For most of the month, October lived up to its “bright blue weather” description, not only with warm, sunny days, but also with gorgeous “harvest moon” nights.
Both of those scenarios were especially obvious during the week I spent at the beautiful Cape San Blas beach.
To be there, of course, we had to miss, temporarily, vibrant colors, which still surround us here in north Georgia. There’s no denying the beauty of roadsides blazing with golden yellow, burnt orange, red, burgandy, bronze — fringed with shades of green. Forget for a moment the piles of brown accumulating on the ground; we’ll deal with those later.
We did have some swirling patches of orange at the cape: It was the season of migrating monarchs. Two summers of no hurricanes or storm surges in our stretch of beach left us with a huge patch of lantana, which those butterflies thoroughly enjoyed — and we enjoyed them both.
It was memories of our mountains in the fall that lured my niece from St. Petersburg, Fla., to beg for “one more trip.” She’s really a cousin, but for all their lives, I have been Aunt Helen to her and her siblings.
Her husband and daughters knew it would be a difficult trip, but she had fought cancer so valiantly for such a long time that they granted her request. I delayed and shortened my Florida trip while they made the Georgia one, and none of us regretted the choices.
Unfortunately, they made a return trip the following week to bring her cremated ashes back for burial in the cemetery of her ancestors in Murray County. That day started out with clouds and drizzle, but as we held brief graveside services, the sun broke through.
There was no such weather break-through on the next day at Bethel, where the Stephens/Burt families said a final farewell to Chris; for a while, rain fell in torrents.
Amid both those “streaks of gray” (and, of course, there were many others in which I was not involved), there was a brightness even more shining than autumnal colors — the obvious glow of love.
And that’s the way life goes. Seasons come and go, and so do people. It is good that we can enjoy both, even though we realize that on earth neither the season nor the person is permanent.
Once again, I have been reminded that in both the vibrant colors of life and the dull clouds of death, love is eternal.
It is important that we share it.
Helen Taylor’s column appears periodically in the Dawson Community News.