Last month, I was blessed to spend a couple of weeks with my mom in the mountains of Colorado. Although the town and the townhome were familiar, the territory was new in some senses. It’s Mom’s first summer there without Dad, who died in April. She and I are also recalibrating our relationship in his absence. I found myself slowing down and noticing different things in our time together.

For one thing, I was there long enough to establish a rhythm of life rather than just being there “on vacation.” We worked crossword puzzles over breakfast and went for a hike or walk most mornings. I edited (because this wasn’t just vacation time) at different periods on different days, and she read and rested or spent time on the computer while I worked. We enjoyed cooking meals and treats together.

Part of the gift of slowing and noticing for me was taking a lot of photos on our hikes and around town—as I always seem to do in Colorado. (At this point, I can’t imagine ever using all my photos on Instagram, even if I doubled or tripled the number of photos I share each day!)

We also did some important transitional things together. We sorted through Dad’s clothing and other belongings and took several bags to the local senior rummage sale. Dad’s cousin and her husband came to visit for a few days, and we scattered Dad’s ashes amidst the pine trees on the mountainside pictured above. We were together on his birthday—one of several milestones in this first year of letting go.

As I now contemplate a full autumn of work, I’m grateful for the chance we had to slow down together. Dad wasn’t with us—but he was. We are on the next stage of our journey, noticing what forms that will take as the weeks and months unfold.

What are you grateful for from this past summer? What are you noticing as autumn unfolds?

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