To every thing, there is a season

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The final round of hay has been put up, and the colorful leaves have blown free from our majestic old trees. Many of the vibrant songbirds that I enjoyed so much have flown on, searching for warmer climates and balmy breezes. Even the ponies seem less playful, gathering for warmth instead of dashing about when led out to pasture.
The changing seasons here in our new place signals a quieter time. Or so I thought.
Let’s party! With high school football season behind us and a blank weekend calendar on tap, my daughter decided it was time to host a party.
We have a two-story building on this property that sits between the house and the barn. It is easily as large as many homes and has served as a great place for over-flow storage since our move from a larger home to a smaller one.
Caroline decided it could be straightened up, and when she sets her mind to something, it gets done. We worked at organizing boxes, moving and stacking and pitching.
Her girlfriends showed up, bearing flowers and string lights, decorations and candy and a birthday cake for Caroline, who turned 18 just a few days ago. The “guest house” had been turned in to a “party house.”
And then the kids started showing up. It was a costume party, and we were blessed with Tinkerbelle, Batman and his sidekick, Robin, a foxy black cat, a pretty cowgirl, an alluring airline stewardess, a beautiful nurse, Strawberry Shortcake, Bill Clinton, a bearded farmer.
Caroline was dressed as a police woman and her willing prisoner, dressed in black and white stripes, never strayed very far from her side.
Becoming a home. When we decided to move to this place, Caroline was quietly ambivalent. She didn’t particularly like the location, she felt sure no one would ever find us, and even if they did, she feared it wouldn’t be as great as the place that had been home all of her life.
It still may not feel like home to her, but it is becoming the place that the kids love to gather, just as our other home always was.
There were many bonfires held in our back yard over the summer months, with kids gathering to catch up with one another late at night.
Perhaps the biggest thrill of all for one of Caroline’s girlfriends was taking her very first pony ride on our sweet and gentle pony, Topper.
There is nothing like sharing in the smiles and laughter and memory-making with a group of really great kids.
It was wonderful to hear the positive comments made many times during the evening of the costume party, urging Caroline to have another party soon.
Seasons of life. Life will always be filled with shifting tides, and one day before long, I am wise enough to realize, none of these kids will gather here. They will have their own gathering places, and our home will be a distant memory.
It is the way life is designed; it is the way life is meant to be, whether we like it or not. And so I intend to appreciate every moment while it lasts!

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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college.

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