He has passed his bloom

I read an interesting concept. Why didn’t I know this? I should have, maybe I did. Every season has its harvest. There are many harvests. Somehow I understood the harvest to be at the end of our days. But every season and harvest has its appointed time. If that harvest isn’t reaped during it’s season, the chances for reaping are gone until another season and a different harvest.
There are many seasons in life. This time of the year, students are graduating from high school and college. It will soon be a new season for them. They will receive from their years of education a harvest, which will prepare them for their lives. If they drop out before that season ends, they will lose the harvest, possibly a degree or a diploma. The next season might require that piece of paper.
What does it mean when we say he passed his bloom? Not quite sure, but my Sweet Al and I said it anyway. Years ago when people asked us if one of the members of our family was married, we’d say, “No, he’s too picky.” Then we would add, “He has passed his bloom.” In other words, his season for love had passed him by. He was no longer looking or thinking about marriage; the bloom was gone.
He always had an excuse. In his 30s, we tried to set him up with dates. We introduced him to some nice girls with great possibilities, but he found fault with all of them. One of the girls wore a one-size-fits-all Hawaiian muumuu. When she wore it on their second date, enough was enough and there wouldn’t be a third. With every girl he dated, he just knew she was after his money. His mother didn’t help the matter. She shook her head and echoed his concern. “She’ll just take your money.”
We were sure he would end up a confirmed bachelor. So the years passed. He went through his 30s single, then his 40s not interested. He turned his attention to acquiring more property and money. By his 50s, we all believed no one would separate him from his money. The flower faded and the wind carried it away.
He didn’t claim his harvest, no love and marriage or baby carriage, and the fruit of those seasons were gone forever. But, lo and behold, at 60, shortly after his mother passed away, he married, which shocked us all. The woman, a widow, had her own money, and the harvest looked different and was different. He chose a middle-aged woman rather than a bride of his youth. The harvest did come in, but in another season.
Many times we are not ready to let go of the last season, but it’s part of gathering up the fruit and moving into a new place. A writer friend came into my life. For four years, I spent every Monday at her house in Chimney Rock. I learned about writing. Her friendship was invaluable to me. I couldn’t have learned the things I learned except for that season with her.
She was willing to teach others, but the drive was too far or they didn’t have time, always a good reason in their minds. She was here for a short time then she moved away. Some of my writer friends wished they would have taken advantage of her generous offer, but they didn’t.
In 2012, the son of a friend, who became part of the harvest for another season, drove from New Mexico to our house to give us an urgent message. He had told his folks and now was telling us, “I sat my parents down and told them, make the end-of-your-life decisions while you have each other. Don’t wait until one of you is gone.”
We took his words to heart and my Sweet Al and I decided right then and there we needed to sell one of our houses. The upkeep was becoming more difficult for Al and he couldn’t keep up with both houses. We kept the one that was easier to maintain. That meant scaling down. We had to turn loose of 30 years of memories, the home where we raised our children and where I enjoyed my studio and gallery.
We had passed our bloom; the days of a big family and the days of our youth were gone. My 800-square-foot art studio was gone. I loved it, but I didn’t need that space any longer. I was in the transition of leaving painting for writing. They were all wonderful days, but not for this day.
We scaled down from 4,000 to 2,000 square feet and the smaller house was more suitable. We made the right decision and haven’t looked back. Moving was an enormous task. Today I don’t think we would have the strength to make it happen, to do all we did five years ago.
I am learning not to waste the harvest of that season. Every season must pass and only that which was reaped in its season will remain.
Final brushstroke: David the Poet wrote: “As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field, for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.” The house next door knows us no more. My art is gone from its walls, laughter at meal times is no longer heard, large parties are no longer happening. Sounds a little sad, but we are more than that house. We are living in a new season.
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This story was posted on May 20, 2018.