When You Don’t Think You Can Change


Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

                                        -Robert Frost, 1923

It spins ’round invisible, slowly hurling living things into new existences. You don’t feel it move and before you know it, what came as a golden bloom is green, then crimson, then brown, then gone.

The glorious death of autumn splashes over the Vermont hills and it’s an echo of some truth that hides down near a soul-that life doesn’t exist apart from Autumn’s violence.

Some think death is transformative.

And why not? Life comes awake again and again.

Sometimes I’m bogged down, pressed, stressed, wilted. I forget about the spinning earth and how I’m always moving forward even when I’m feeling stuck. I know that change is movement and moving is sometimes hard, and there’s a time when hard is the only thing that brings that lasting kind of change.
There’s this mother that I want to be, this person, really. She thinks love is the greatest attribute and loves her family like they’re perfect, but knows they are not. The love is perfect though, since love can hold fears silent and see through skin and bones and childish meltdowns, right down deep where truth and self meet.

This person, she’s a giver. She is selfless even when the world tells her she doesn’t have to be. She gives because she has so much. She gives even when she has so little. She gives because generosity fills a soul the way the tide seeps into dry sand.

She’s strong. She won’t be victim to circumstance, but decides where her feet will go and what her hands will do of a day. And even in weakness, hope buoys above the deep and she remembers that she is not alone in the world.
In humility she acknowledges that the stars aren’t aligned for her alone; that just because she earns something doesn’t mean she owns it. She is quickly contrite when she offends and readily extends grace to her offenders, if only for the healing power of forgiveness to her own heart.

With joy she is present with her kids, loving towards her husband, grateful and content like a swing in the hammock at the end of a full day. It’s happiness that she is after and she catches up to it most days because it’s one of those slow moving qualities that wants to be caught.

It’s the woman I want to be.

I take my cue from the coming season as change steals us away again. When I turn my head to see where I’ve been, I discover something that can only be seen in the looking back-life that has come awake again and again.

This woman imposes herself on me with each turn of the earth and I am becoming her. When you don’t think you can change, take a look behind and see how far a mother travels on her way.


  1. Your introspective pieces are always so thought provoking to me. They make me also yearn to be a better person, mother, friend and after a little introspection of my own, I think that’s because I can’t just read your words, I feel them, too.


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