The calendar and the heat say it’s summer but the end is unmistakably near. Autumn is set to step in. It’s the vendange in the south of France – grape harvest time. Vines droop with the weight of fat, taut, juicy fruit, ready to be picked. The lavender is gone, the spiky, gray past-their-purple-luster plants trimmed to rows of tidy dull mounds in the dirt. Sunflowers – the few that remain – are brown and dry, bending with exhaustion to the ground; their round faces no longer speak their names. Orange nets are poised beneath wizened trees to catch olives ready to drop. Nature’s progression surrounds us as I walk among the vineyards, fields and sturdy stone farmhouses.
We’re back in the Luberon after six weeks of traveling south to Corsica, Sardinia and Italy’s Ligurian coastline. Physically, the landscape is transformed and emotionally, my world will no longer be the same. I lost my Dad while we were away. New days dawn. Seasons change. The world goes on without him. Life continued after my Mom died nine years ago and will continue now as then. But I no longer have my parents in my material world. Their love gave life to eleven children and twenty-nine grandchildren — the masterpieces of their lives.
As the vines and flowers wither only to bear new fruit and blossoms in spring, so will my parents’ legacy go on. My siblings, our children, and our love for each other are testaments to my parents’ love. Summer, fall. Their lives will go on in ours. Winter, spring. We will share their love; we will make them proud.
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