The autumn leaves stir such happy childhood memories. Luminous arrays of colour, fanning across crisp sunny skies swiftly carry me back in time to the tiny, overfilled cottage, the joyful clamour of Thanksgiving meals shared elbow to elbow alongside grandparents, parents, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles and family dogs. Memories of a cosiness warmed by a potbelly fire became touchstones of happy communion with people and nature. Afternoon walks in a golden world with breathtaking ornamental sprays of oranges and reds, crisp Mackintosh in hand (the kind you eat, not tap), the sweet smell of white birches, their slim, graceful trunks rising from a blanket of canary yellow leaves, overlooking the cool, gray fall lake…I remember like yesterday.
Was it here in this little alcove of northern Canadian paradise that the seeds of hope for a peaceful world first sewed themselves in my soul?
Certainly in the years going forward the memories of Granny’s cottage became a measuring stick against harsher, less forgiving encounters in the world. At the very least, these early experiences were my formative lessons in gratitude and appreciation.
Ultimately for me, the memories of cozy cedar walls immersed in autumn bliss embody the essence of a world worth dreaming into being – a peaceful world, where every thought and action emerges in celebration of life.
I wonder what powers lay dormant in the reservoirs of our long forgotten joys that might help carry us forward into an Era of peace? The memories of Thanksgiving at Granny’s cottage certainly give me courage and hope for the restoration of peace in our world.
I have known paradise.
I know we shall find our way there again.
Shelley Richardson, M.Ed. ©2016