In just two weeks we will have lived in Newberg a year. The end of the academic year makes my kids miss their old school in Texas—especially the friends they said goodbye to through tears one year ago.
My eleven-year-old cried in my arms Friday night. “I love Oregon,” she sniffed, “and I love our school. But I lived my whole life in Texas, and here I still feel like the new girl.”
I told her that the second year will begin to feel different. Instead of learning each activity and observing each season for the first time, the second year is when we begin to establish traditions. We’ll pick berries again, play in the creek on hot days again, and as rains let up we’ll watch the creek diminish to a trickle. She’ll go back to classes in September and will never again have a “first day” at this school.
“And then we’ll rake leaves,” my daughter said, cheering up a little. “And jump in the piles.”
“Looks like patching up the deck and the house paint will be a yearly job,” I said, thinking more grown-up thoughts. The wind and rain have already peeled back last summer’s work on the deck stairs, exposing raw wood to the elements.
This second time through the seasons, I now know that the maples in front of our house will begin to turn red at the tips in August. I know that by October their leaves will be in piles for the neighborhood children to rake and scatter. The seasons come and go so fast.
These annual chores and celebrations are something close to liturgy. This second year in our new home we will celebrate the return of each season by bowing to pull weeds and rising to paint siding and standing together to praise the beauty of a world now baptized in rain and green with new life, soon gold and red with age. We’ll together take our winter rest and emerge again in spring, rising with the first daffodil to start again the cycle of toil and celebration.