Sorrow and the Scarlet Leaf

A few years ago I gave Mom a little box that held index cards I had personalized with her name. Apparently she continued to use the box to keep quotes she liked, story ideas,  notes about books she loved or that friends had recommended. Dad asked me if I wanted to bring it home with me. What a little treasure box it turned out to be. I gave it to her filled with blank note cards, and she gave it back to me filled with thoughtful little treasures from her heart. Sometimes, when I want some words of wisdom from my Mom, I’ll open the box and pull out a random card to see “what my Mom wants to say” to me today.

Today, I plucked out this one and found it particularly poignant. I thought I’d share it with all of you on her website. I’m sure she saved it in reference to the book she had written called “Dread Autumn.” (or was it called Firethorn?).

Sorrow and the scarlet leaf,
Sad thoughts and sunny weather;
Ah me! this glory and this grief
Agree not well together.

(T. W. Parsons – A Song for September)

The full text of the poem can be found here. But Mom wrote down just that one short verse.


There is another quote that I found repeated on many cards in this box, and also tucked into several books. This one I find particularly powerful, because she had written it so many times and it was obviously (and very literally) ‘words she lived by.”

I am afflicted, but not crushed;
Perplexed but not despairing;
Struck down but not destroyed.

(2 Corinthians 4)

One thought on “Sorrow and the Scarlet Leaf

  1. Mimi, reading your post makes me sad and happy. Everything about not having Mom here makes me sad but so happy to hear about anyone connecting with her. I’m not getting the communication with Mom that I wanted, that I truly expected to have. Apparently I’m not calling the shots here, so why should it surprise me that it’s not happening my way. But man oh man does that box sound like Mom making a connection. For you to have that box back with things she felt were worth saving… worth you reading. What an amazing gift she returned to you.

    I’m sure like me there are many days when you feel like an empty box without Mom. You must feel like she’s handing you the cards from the box… their is so much of her in it and what a shame it would be if we didn’t draw on what she has place in each of our boxes (our hearts). Clearly that quote she wrote so many times wasn’t just for her to read.

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