The autumn leaves stir such happy childhood memories. Luminous arrays of colour, fanning across crisp sunny skies swiftly carry me back in time to a tiny, overfilled cottage and 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 over the years of happy communions 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, slim, graceful trunks rising from a blanket of canary yellow leaves, overlooking the cool, gray fall lake…I remember it 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 a cozy cedar cottage cocooned 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 a new era of peace? The memories of Thanksgiving at Granny’s cottage certainly give me courage and hope.
I have known paradise.
I know in my heart we can find our way there again.
If only one microcosm of peace at a time, we shall find our way.
For the children's sake,
Shelley Richardson, M.Ed. ©2016