A Season For Everything
Up until the last couple of years, I was a die-hard summer girl. During my growing-up years, summer, of course, meant no school, swimming pools, whole days of play and running around, vacations at the beach. During my adulthood, summer meant a time of airy freedom and endless possibilities, a time of relaxed rules, a time to try something new "just for the summer." Green things and fireflies and hot summer nights filled with stars. An almost magical time, removed from the daily grind and responsibilities of "real life."
Last year, however, somewhere around July, I found myself looking forward to fall. I wanted cooler weather, crisp nights fragrant with woodsmoke, a bright, warm house lit by a flickering fireplace and filled with rich, homey cooking smells. I wanted to "get back to it," a mentality I retain after working for so many years in higher education - any educator will tell you that the new year doesn't really start on January 1, but on the first day of school each fall. I wanted the cozy sense of drawing in and settling in for winter. And I remember returning home from errands one afternoon in November, driving along the river that ran clean and clear and cold, the trees bare, the sun hazy with lowering clouds, and feeling utterly content. My new season had arrived, and I wanted it to last forever.
Just as the seasons change, I've changed, too. We all do. Sometimes it's due to circumstances; other times, we're just wired to "update" at particular times in our lives. We realize the things that always fit well before no longer do, or the way we thought about something no longer represents who we are at heart. We think we know which way we're going, but when we get there, we discover it's not the right path. And that's okay. As long as you recognize it, acknowledge it to yourself - no matter how tough it is to admit it - and accept it, you're okay; you can move forward. It's when we stubbornly hold on and try make something work that no longer works for us that life becomes truly difficult.
For me, my "update" came after breast cancer. I'd thought everything would - could - go back to the way it was before, once my treatment was all over and my doctors turned me loose. I'd acknowledged *verbally* that my old life was gone for good, but I realized this summer that I hadn't actually believed it deep down. I hadn't accepted it. Now I understand that my thinking is different, my mindset is different - *I'm* different because of the experience I had. And yeah, it's tough to admit. It's tough to accept. But I'm okay. It's a new season.
The farmhouse is decorated for fall, with colorful autumn-leaf garlands and brightly-colored tablecloths and placemats. Our garden is still churning out cucumbers (if I never see another cucumber before next summer, I'll be thrilled!), and all of our tomatoes are ripening at the same time - I've heard it said that every single tomato in Pennsylvania is ripening this week! The corn is coming in like crazy. My love's mother already has pumpkins set up outside her house - she'll use them to make pumpkin pies from scratch later on. Yesterday felt like the first real day of fall: sunny, warm but not hot, a brisk, cool breeze, lots of locusts buzzing but hardly any birdsong. I loved it.
Have a wonderful last weekend of summer/first weekend of fall!